A bosom friend of the embattled Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, Pastor Ebebe Ukpong, yesterday, disowned the claim by the judge that he led the Akwa Ibom State All Progressive Congress Governorship Candidate, Mr. Umana Umana, to his home to lobby for his victory at the apex court.
Pastor Ukpong, a former Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Education and Economic Development, said in a statement made available to Saturday Vanguard in Abuja last night, that he had never in his lifetime led anyone to Justice Okoro for any political reason and will never do so as a child of God.
Ukpong admitted that although Okoro was his personal friend of over 30 years, he did not at any time lead Umana Umana to his home with a view to bribing him to compromising the outcome of the governorship election result in the state.
It will be recalled that Justice Okoro, one of the judges, who was arrested by the Department of State Services on October 7 with over N3 million, $38,000 and €1000, had in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, claimed that Ukpong led the Akwa Ibom State APC 2015 governorship candidate, Umana Umana, to his house with the aim of compromising him.
In the statement, Ukpong said, “I have read in the social media and several newspapers since the night of Tuesday, October 18, 2016, a letter purportedly written by Honourable Justice John I Okoro, JSC, and addressed to the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council.
“I have known, in adult context, Hon Justice Okoro for more than three decades now. He is my brother and we mutually visit each other in our homes, sometimes physically walking across in there. We also attend each other’s functions. For example, in November 2014 when my son married in Lagos, my brother, Justice Okoro, spent three days with us for the event in Lagos despite his crowded schedule as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. I remember very well that ‘politicians ‘ from Akwa Ibom State did not find it fit to attend the landmark event.
“I have never led anyone to Justice Okoro or attended any meeting in his house where the issue of bribery, corruption of any kind or perversion of justice was discussed. Of course, I could never have and will never contemplate such as it is against my personal principles informed by my relationship with the Almighty God. I stand always for the truth, integrity and fairness.
“I live and work above politics and partisanship. I strive for a greater Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State and not the destruction of anyone or institution and it is so sad for me watching strong ties of relationships and blossoming careers built on handwork being eroded by ‘politics’.
“Let me repeat the prayer I shared with Justice Okoro’s family the moment I heard about the sad event, based on 2 Thessalonians 1:6: “For after all it is only just for God to repay with distress those who distress you”.