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I’m not aware of FG’s felony charge against me, says Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah, former Aviation Minister, says she is not aware of the fresh criminal charge filed against her by the Federal Government.

 

In a press statement issued through James Onoja, her lawyer, Oduah said she was neither invited for questioning nor served with the notice of the suit, adding that she only found out through social media.

 

“First and foremost, our client is not aware of the charge,” Onoja said.

 

“No investigation of any kind was carried out, whether by the Nigerian police or any security agency.

 

“She was not invited to make any statement by any of the security agencies.

 

“This position is supported by the fact that no proof of evidence bearing her statement is annexed to or accompanies the charge. Not even a staff of the NYSC is being proposed as a witness in the charge being flaunted around.”

 

The senior advocate said the two lawyers who filed the suit, Ochogwu Ogbe and Ibrahim Mohammed, failed to affix their practising seals as required by the profession.

 

He also stated that it is unclear if it is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the police that is prosecuting the case.

 

“The EFCC does not have the powers to prosecute an offence under the penal code and there are so many decided authorities on that,” he said.

 

“The charge does not allege any offence under the EFCC Act. Forgery of a certificate has nothing to do with the EFCC.

 

“We have been to the EFCC headquarters for investigation but they denied knowledge of the charge. They also acknowledged the fact that it is not within their powers to prosecute someone with an alleged forged certificate.

 

“The spurious allegations against our client of not participating in NYSC has been dismissed by the supreme court in a civil matter in her favour.”

 

He described the entire process as “a game plan to suffer our client and create confusion”.

 

He further stated that the charges were politically motivated and a gender-based political attack on his client.

 

“The fresh charge against my client is a violation of the Code of Conduct for prosecutors as issued by the Federal Ministry of Justice and punishable under Article 7, part B of the Code,” he said.

 

EFCC Ordered To Investigate Prosecution Counsel

 

The federal government had preferred an eight-count charge against Oduah.

 

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/275/23 was filed before a federal high court in Abuja on June 26.

 

All the charges against the former minister bother on the allegation that she lied on oath, which amounts to a felony.

 

It is alleged that Oduah falsely claimed to have lost her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate to support her eligibility to contest elections and occupy public office.

 

Meanwhile, at the court session on Tuesday, James Omotosho, presiding judge, ordered the EFCC to investigate Mohammed, prosecution counsel in the suit.

 

The lawyer had signed the charge as a member of the legal and prosecution department of the EFCC.

 

However, in a written address attached in support of the case, he identified himself as the head of the inspector-general of police (IGP) monitoring unit, Nigeria police force headquarters, Abuja.

 

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