A former Aide-de-Camp to erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, Colonel Ojogbane Adegbe, has denied comments attributed to him that Nigeria will quake if he opens a can of worms about his former boss.
Adegbe was arrested last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Lagos where he was reportedly attending a senior officers’ course.
According to the reports, the former ADC during interrogations, warned that another Dasukigate may be imminent if he is forced to reveal what transpired in that administration.
Dasukigate is the term coined for the scandal surrounding how the immediate past National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) allegedly misappropriated the over $2.1 billion meant to purchase arms and munitions for the Nigerian military.
Col. Adegbe, while expressing shock and disbelief over the recent viral report, demanded an unreserved apology from the management of the Sun Publishing Limited, which first carried the report, for dragging his hard-earned reputation in the mud.
The ex-ADC said his recent visit to the office of the EFCC was never in connection with the controversial arms scandal.
Reacting to the report, the military official in a letter by his solicitor, Chief Ogwu Onoja, SAN, denied ever making such controversial statement against the former president during his interrogation at the EFCC office.
According the letter, “We have read with shock and disbelief the lead story in your newspaper, dated Friday 12th February, 2016, titled: “If I open up, Nigeria will burn. Detained Jonathan’s ex-ADC warns, as EFCC declares Tompolo wanted”.
Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, while describing the report as false, misleading and defamatory, said it had caused significant harm to Adegbe’s good name and reputation.
He said, “We have examined the full story contained on page 7 of the paper and the different statements credited to him and compared them with provable facts. This comparison shows without any doubt whatsoever that, among others, the following of your statements about what transpired are false:
a. You stated that Col. Adegbe was credited to have said: “If I open up, Nigeria will burn”.
b. You stated that: “the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) picked up Adegbe on Wednesday in Lagos where he was interrogated before he was flown to Abuja yesterday”.
c. You stated that: “It was gathered that ongoing interrogation of the former ADC by operatives of the EFCC could open up a new can of worms, which could surpass what is now known as Dasukigate”.
d. You stated that: “Col. Adegbe, who was arrested in Lagos a few days ago, was said to be attending a senior officers course outside the former capital city, but on a visit, when he was picked up for interrogation”.
“To set the record straight, all the issues raised by your paper above only exist in the figment of your imagination.
This attitude of yours is highly unprofessional and capable of heating up the polity and has indeed brought the name of our client to great disrepute. We are constrained to set the records straight by informing you that our client was not arrested as reported by your newspaper”.
Giving insights into the reason behind his client’s invitation to the anti-graft office, the lawyer noted that, “to set the records straight, Col Adegbe was not arrested by EFCC as claimed by your newspaper. It is known fact that Col Adegbe has been in the UK for studies having been released by the Nigerian Army to do so.
“The EFCC wrote the military authority to invite our client for questioning with respect to an ongoing investigation to clarify certain allegations made against him. The military authority invited him back to Nigeria, which he willingly came in and reported to the office of the provost marshal in Abuja on Wednesday 10th February 2016. Due to his late arrival and the inability of the Army to complete their documentation, he was asked to report to the Garrison Mess in Mogadishu Cantonment in line with military tradition till the next day. Upon completion of the necessary paper work, he was escorted to the EFCC where he wrote his statement and was interrogated.
“We are also familiar with the statement he wrote at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and are also acquainted with answers he gave to questions, so we are at a complete loss as to how your newspaper arrived at that highly sensational and false story. The lawyers and representative of the Nigerian Army were present throughout the interrogation. There was never a time Col. Adegbe threatened to burn down Nigeria.
“He has demanded a retraction of the said story with the same banner headline and an apology from the Sun Newspaper within 12 hours to avoid legal action.
“In view of your false and malicious statements, we demand a retraction of the false story with the same banner headline and an apology for your fictitious and highly embarrassing report. The retraction and apology must carry and be accorded the same prominence not less than 7 editions of your publication. We also demand that the retraction be syndicated to all your prints and the online media links in the same way and manner you spread the false story.
“We demand this to be effected within 12 hours while we advise our client on the legal implication of this malicious publication”, the statement added.