Some human rights lawyers have said there was no truth in the allegation that former Senate Minority Leader, representing Akwa Ibom North West, Godswill Akpabio, defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to avoid being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as there is no prevailing case against the lawmaker.
They said it was mischief and campaign of calumny by political opponents of the senator; to claim the politician defected to escape probe by the anti-graft agency. They said nothing could be further from the truth.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the lawyers, led by Barrister Leo Ekpenyong revealed that their law firm was briefed by clients who made allegations about N100 billion alleged graft in Akwa Ibom State for which petitions were sent to EFCC.
According to him, “the law firm deemed it necessary, in the interest of justice, to withdraw the petitions when, in the course of our interactions with the EFCC, we called the attention of the sponsors and instigators of the petitions to substantiate their allegations and they were not able to substantiate same. The law says ‘he who asserts must prove.’
“We felt that as a law firm, we owed the country a duty to propagate and also seek the truth and defend same when the need arises.
“It was on that note that the firm, having discovered that the petitions were fuelled and instigated by disgruntled politicians in Akwa Ibom state, decided to withdraw the petitions, and EFCC may have established same. So, as it is, senator Akpabio does not have any case with the EFCC,” he said.
Since senator Akpabio defected to the APC, there have been allegations that he did so to avoid prosecution by the anti-graft agency, assertions the lawyers faulted as “the handiwork of political opponents and mischief-makers.”
Also speaking, Eyo Ekong said it was wrong to play politics with legal issues of which clarifications have been made.