The National Working Committee, NWC, of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, has rejected the offer to step aside by its National Legal Adviser, Muiz Banire.
An official of the party who declined to be named because he is not permitted to speak on the matter has confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the offer was rejected.
“It is true, I have even seen a copy of the (rejection) letter today, the NWC has rejected the Legal Adviser’s request,” he said
Mr. Banire had three weeks ago written to the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, offering to step down from his office as National Legal Adviser following an investigation launched by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The anti-graft agency is investigating how N500,000 found in the account of a judge under scrutiny was traced to Mr. Banire.
Mr. Banire reportedly informed the EFCC that the money was a gift to the judge as contribution for the burial expenses of the latter’s late mother about three years ago.
Mr. Banire and the judge had been friends since their university and law school days, sources told PREMIUM TIMES.
In the letter rejecting Mr. Banire’s resignation, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said the National Working Committee, NWC, rejected the offer.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said the NWC was proud of Mr. Banire’s conduct for his offer to step down, but added that “after intense discussion, the NWC unanimously decided not to accept your offer to step aside as the National Legal Adviser.”
The chairman in the letter dated December 1, said the decision of the NWC is based on the fact that Mr. Banire’s responsibility as the National Legal Adviser of the APC will not, “ in any way, impede any ongoing investigation by the EFCC, more so, as the allegation has no nexus with the party.”
“The party is currently saddled with a number of sensitive litigations and your role in professionally handling the ongoing cases is critical.
“The NWC is of the view that we keep to the credo of our jurisprudence where an accused is considered innocent until otherwise proven guilty by a competent jurisdiction. In this case you have not even been accused,” he said.