Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), on Monday raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in a statement he made available to PREMIUM TIMES, said leaks from the Imo State Government House revealed to him that the governor and his close aides were planning to unleash a hit squad on him (Ahamba).
A key witness in the ongoing governorship election petition in the state, Emmanuel Iwuamadi, is also included in Gov. Okorocha’s hit list, the lawyer further alleged.
Mr. Ahamba is lead counsel to the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the April 11 poll, Emeka Ihedioha.
The statement titled, “Governor Rochas Okorocha is Threatening My Life”, the legal practitioner stated that very reliable sources have hinted him about the planned attack on his person and Mr. Iwuamadi.
“I was informed by these sources that Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who is generally rumoured to have a hit squad, had instructed them to stop me and my special assistant who is a key witness, if I continued to remain stubborn to his warnings to me to withdraw the election petition”, stated Mr. Ahamba.
“Since I had received threats in the course of engaging in this profession before now, which threat I have always ignored, I assumed the same attitude although the governor had issued warnings to me directly and through my wife after the burial of Justice Mary Peter Odili’s mother at Obizi on 13th June, 2015. I had treated those warnings as a social joke”.
Mr. Ahamba said he decided to issue a statement on the matter for the information of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora and to alert the nation’s security agencies in case something untoward befalls him or his key witness.
The lawyer recalled how monarchs from his Mbaise clan were made to stand up by the governor during the last meeting he had with Imo State Traditional Rulers.
During the meeting, Ahamba claimed that the governor vowed before the monarchs to extract what he described as “his pound of flesh” from him and his client if they insist on going ahead with the governorship case at the tribunal.
“It would amount to irresponsibility over my personal security, those of my clients and witnesses, and the future of my family and numerous dependents if I continued to treat the threat as a social joke”, the legal practitioner argued.
“This is not a case of thirty ducats as in Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’, but about human lives.
“My being counsel in this election petition is consistent with my professional calling which I have practiced for forty-one years out of which 23 years have been as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“Since he has just celebrated his 50th birthday, it means he was only nine when I started practicing law! I started appearing in Election Petition Tribunals in 1979.
“Owelle must be made to understand that he cannot stop me now, and that he is putting himself at risk with my God.
“I am not issuing this statement out of fear because, as always, I refuse to be intimidated. But Owelle Rochas Okorocha who has mustered five senior advocates in his defence should have the courage and maturity to allow them to do their job, and allow me to do mine”.
Mr. Ahamba, therefore, called on security agencies to provide him and his client protection as the tribunal proceedings commence on July 6.
While he would not call for the relocation of the tribunal from Owerri, the senior lawyer pointed out that information at his disposal indicated that the bailiff attached to the election tribunal was shot on Sunday night.
“To save democracy in Nigeria is a task that must be done and I have always believed, and still believe in justice for all, at all times, at all cost. On this I stand, even now”, he stated.
As of the time of publishing this report, the governor has yet to respond to the allegations leveled against him by Mr. Ahamba.