The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has responded to the allegations by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, that he is behind the travails of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
The federal government on January 10 filed corruption charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal against Mr Onnoghen for allegedly failing to declare a series of his bank accounts, denominated in local and foreign currencies.
The tribunal has, however, been restrained by a federal high court, Abuja, from continuing with the trial of Mr Onnoghen.
The Rivers governor, Mr Wike, during a political rally on Thursday in Eleme, Rivers State, told a crowd of supporters that Mr Amaechi confessed in Abuja to being responsible for travails of the chief justice of Nigeria.
“At that meeting in Abuja last Monday, Amaechi confessed that he is the person behind the illegal crisis facing the CJN. He bragged that he will destroy the CJN the way he brought Former President Goodluck Jonathan down,” a statement from the Rivers State Government House quoted Mr Wike to have said at the rally.
The governor did not, however, release any proof to back his allegation against Mr Amaechi.
A statement released on Friday evening by Mr Amaechi’s media office described the allegations as “spurious”.
Mr Amaechi challenged Mr Wike to name the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the governor said he (Amaechi) met with in Abuja to confess to being behind the corruption charges against the CJN.
“This is another blatant lie just to smear Amaechi and put him on collision course with the judiciary.
“The former Rivers State Governor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi is not a judicial officer and is not part of whatever is happening in the Judiciary,” the statement said.
The statement added, “This Wike’s latest attack on Amaechi is reminiscent of his earlier spurious allegations during the Ikoyi-Osborne-gate scandal where Wike disgracefully opened his mouth to shamelessly allege that the former Rivers State Governor, Amaechi was the owner of the 13 billion dollars and the owner of the Osborne apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, where the money was kept.
“Wike lied that the money was stolen from Rivers State Government treasury. However, in Wike’s usual chicanery, up to today, he has refused to go to Court to claim the 13 billion dollars found in that apartment which he claimed was Rivers money stolen by his predecessor.
“Even when a court of law openly asked anyone laying claim to the money to come forward and collect it, Wike ran far away from the court and chickened out, like the chicken he is.”
Mr Amaechi also said the attack against him was meant to divert attention from the governor’s “poor performance” in office.
He threatened that the governor would face “prosecution for his many libelous attacks” when his immunity expires.
“At the appropriate time, he would no doubt face the full wrath of the law and ultimately, that of the Almighty God,” the minister said.
The minister urged Nigerians to ignore Governor Wike’s allegations.
“Indeed, it is pathetic and a big shame that Wike do not know that Nigerians already know him as an incurable, incorrigible compulsive liar and do not take him and/or his comments seriously,” the minister said.