Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) have demanded that the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Kesiye Wabote, step aside for a thorough investigation of allegations of corruption against him within 21 days.
The CNPP and the CSOs in a joint statement on Tuesday noted that “it is in the interest of justice and in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration's avowed stance on war against corruption.”
In the statement signed by the CNPP Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu and the Secretary of the CSO coalition, Alhaji Ali Abacha, they noted that "perjury is of serious concern” and should be taken seriously.
The statement added, “learning of the ongoing case in the United States of America in a libel case instituted by lawyers acting on the authority of the Executive Secretary in which the Defendant’s counsel is accusing Mr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote of perjury and lying on oath in his case against Jackson Ude, a journalist, in a United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“Attorney to Ude from Amadi Law Office at 204 Blossom Street Extension, Suite A. Lynn MA 01901, Barr. Beneth O. Amadi, had in a letter dated January 15, 2022 and addressed to the Honorable Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., United States District Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 504 West Hamilton Street, Suite 3401, alleged that Wabote perjured (lied on oath) in his response to interrogatories.
“The court had on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 ordered Wabote, to provide “full and complete responses to defendant’s interrogatories”, as the court was not satisfied with earlier responses provided by Wabote and his counsel.
“But in his reaction to the responses by Wabote to the interrogatories, counsel for Defendant (Ude) wrote to the court demanding sanction for “Plaintiff (Wabote) and his Attorneys for committing fraud on the court, for perjury and for acting in subornation of perjury in this case”, the statement recalled.
The CNPP and the CSOs said they “found it shocking that if knowingly, and with clear intention, as Mr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote was accused, is working to derail the course of justice and to torpedo Defendant’s access to justice in a case in far away United States, he will do worse in Nigeria.
“To ensure that he does not continue to obstruct the course of justice both in Nigeria and the United States, we call for his immediate suspension or he should voluntarily step aside for proper investigation into corruption allegations against him and to stop further siphoning of the nation's scarce resources for legal fees abroad.
“We therefore call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the National Assembly to immediately institute open probe of the core allegations against him as contained in a petition directed to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“If he fails to resign within 21 days, we shall be left with no choice but to take legal actions against him, including mobilising the civil society community to occupy the National Assembly and relevant anti-corruption institutions until the the needful done”, the statement read.