Written by Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye
Torture and human right abuse are not something that only the military governments do. Civilian governments can engage in such atrocities as well. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, under Jonathan’s government commits these atrocities. My case is a striking example. As you all must have figured out by now, I did not commit any crime against the state. I did not violate any law whatsoever. My offense is simply because I refused
to participate in government’s effort to bribe judges in 2008.
On top of that, I refused to give kickback to the Ambassador from the fees paid to my firm. And then I committed the capital offense of speaking out publicly about their corrupt activities.
They have been searching for ways to pin something on me. All the crimes they have claimed I committed could only have occurred in the United States. But they know that they could never establish a case against me in the U.S. The only place they could attack me is in the dark and corrupt country of Nigeria. That’s why we are here trying as a crime an allegation of breach of contract in the US. They have used the EFCC to lie like monkeys against me. They are willing to spend all the money at the country’s disposal just to get me. Almost like over indulgent children, a whole government is obsessed with getting one man nailed to the cross.
Do not get carried away by the terminology of the offenses they charge against me with. They have charged me with the offense of Criminal Breach of contrary to the penal code of Northern Nigeria. There they charged me with Refusal to Declare Assets. And now they charge me with stealing. I wonder when they would charge me with the offense of terrorism or treason. They could even be funny and charge me with the offense of rape or armed robbery. So, it doesn’t matter what they call it, they simply can’t prove any of it in a fair and impartial court of justice.
How do these people work?
They work in the most primitive ways imaginable. They chose to use the most daft and corrupt set of officials – the leaders of the EFCC. They have imagined every dirty trick in the world. They knew that the 1.5 million dollars story was a non-issue. They sat together and planned to entrap me with the refusal to declare asset charge.
They sent some low level staff to ensnare me. But I saw through their tricks even before they showed their hands. So, I did not refuse to declare my assets. I put my position in writing. For them to change me with what didn’t happen really shows how desperate they are. They thought they could get me on Nigerian soil. But they are not smart enough.
To see how stupid they are, look at what is going on now. The charge they filed against me in the Federal High Court Abuja is coming up on December 16 for trial. The one they filed against me in FCT High Court is coming up on January 26. And here they are in Lagos telling the court to deny me bail and remand me in kirikiri. Assuming the court agrees with them, how am I to go to Abuja on December 16 to attend trial? So, they expect the prison authority to take me on a black maria death box from Lagos to Abuja and back? Or maybe the Prison authority will cough up the money to fly me to Abuja and back. Yet this is the absurdity that Festus Keyamo has been paid to seek for them.
In court last Thursday, they tried to get me sent to Kirikiri. They had paid money to some of the Press people who were there to report that the “American-based lawyer” had been sent to Kirikiri with pictures of me climbing the black maria. But they didn’t get that shot. Not yet. They had hoped to toast that night their to victory over Emeka Ugwuonye. Out of frustration, they decided to make life more horrible for me. So upon being taken back to the cell, they tortured me and placed me in solitary confinement.
Despite all the harm they have caused, you really can’t help laughing at these people. They are so idiotic. They don’t seem to be a part of this planet. You see human beings acting like animals. You wonder if it is all a dream or whether this could be happening in reality. And then it dawns on you that this is Nigeria. This is the same EFCC that said was going to fight corruption. You just weep for the country.
Though I have suffered all unimaginable hardship in the hands of these wild beasts, I have not really had the chance to cry for myself. I have been busy crying for the country. I have been busy crying for the poor Nigerians. I have seen a lot of them in the cells that I have been to. The officials of EFCC are just busy taking bribes and dumping poor innocent people in their cells. Two days ago, they arrested a 17-year old girl for an offense allegedly committed when she was 15 years old. Today, they took this secondary school girl to Abuja for further detention. This is no joke.
Out of consideration of decency, I shall not disclose the name of this minor. But that is the EFCC, you didn’t know about. Minors, even in cases of violent crimes, are not supposed to be treated like that. And with the emerging revelations that an EFCC official had raped and impregnated a female inmate, you can begin to understand the motive for the arrest and detention of a 17-year old girl.
As for the incident of rape of an inmate, I have managed to smuggle a petition to the Attorney-General of Nigeria.
A few months ago, an inmate of this cell died due to neglect and negligence of EFCC officials. The man’s name was Ayo. By 4:00 am of the day he died, he began to complain of acute pains to his head. Other inmates reported the matter to the guards on duty, who said they could not do anything until day light arrived. But the pain persisted and the man was rolling in excruciating pain to his head. By 6:00 am, the inmates went back to remind the guards. At the same time, the inmates were trying their best to help by soaking a piece of cloth in water and holding it to the sick man’s head.
That did not help. By 7:00 am the man passed feaces and urinated in his pant. The inmates carried him downstairs near the door hoping that some attention was coming. But the guards handed over to the next shift without any incident report for the next shift to attend to. By 8:00 am the new shift began to learn about the problem for the first time. No action was taken by the EFCC officials until 10:30 am. Even at that time medical attention did not arrive until 11:00 am. Of course, the man died before anything was done. He died of high blood pressure that was not attended to.
That was not the end of it. EFCC went ahead to cover up this incident, and asked inmates to lie about it. What happened to this man was exactly what happened with the rape case. They covered it up.
I cry for the people I see in detention here. Many of them have no hope. They were pleased to meet me. They have been happy to have a lawyer who could explain their rights to them. But now, EFCC has taken me into solitary confinement, away from any contact with these poor souls. However, I have requested my lawyers to mobilize and render services to as many of these inmates as possible - all at my expense.
Now, I cry for them. I hope to do everything I can to give these people justice. I must lift this burden and scourge of injustice and oppression which have been visited upon them by their own government.
Their problems are more acute than mine. At least, I know that those who detained me were wrong. Some of these inmates could not tell much about their conditions.
Engineer Francis, for instance, thought that Mrs. Farida Waziri was right when she told him there was an offence known as introducing somebody to somebody to collect a bank loan.
Maybe someday, I could have the luxury of weeping for myself. For now, I shall attend to those who hurt and suffer worse conditions that myself. The longer I face persecution by the government, the more defined my position becomes. And the more unease the enemy becomes. They are talking so much nonsense about how impossible it is for a person to fight a government. But what happens when a government has become an evil system, a cabal of death, a monster that sucks blood and ravages its own people?
How do we deal with a government so completely devoid of all notions of humanity, a government that lacks compassion, respect and rectitude? How do you expect me to relate with a group of leaders who have no regard for the fundamental objectives of human dignity and the well-being of their people?
The only way is to oppose them. Mine is a principled hostility. It will be impossible for me to turn away now after I have seen the degree of rot in this country and how shabbily our people have been treated by our government.
I am a political prisoner. I have no regrets for refusing to help them in their corrupt activities. I have no regret for turning my back to their corrupt money. Also, I have no regrets for deciding to speak out against them. No amount of punishment or blackmail will stop me.
By the way, did you notice that they are asking for my international passport so I wouldn’t go back to the U.S? What do you think is their goal? They don’t want me to return to Washington to testify in the case they filed against me in Washington. They are afraid of what I may say in that case. They don’t want an American judge to hear what I have to say. That was their entire objective for charging me to court in Nigeria, to use these Nigerian charges to keep me from talking to the Americans.
But who is fooling who?Culled from www.elomba.com