A Supreme Court judge, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, has said that she did not, at anytime, contact a retired Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, either directly or indirectly on any matter.
The apex court judge, in a letter sent to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mukhtar, accused Okeke of being economical with the truth.
She stated that Justice Okeke misled the public into thinking that the National Judicial Council (NJC) issued him a warning letter based on the ex parte order he gave which affected her (Justice Ogunbiyi’s) daughter, Funke Amadi (nee Ogunbiyi).
“It is extremely ridiculous, absurd and malicious for Justice Okeke to insinuate that it is the foregoing circumstances that formed the basis for the warning letter given to him on three petitions deliberated upon by the NJC, which I know nothing about.
“I wish also to state that the alleged petition by all the residents of No. 5A, George Street, Ikoyi, to the NJC has nothing to do with me,” she explained.
She told the CJN that she did not ask her daughter to see Justice Okeke and that she did not try to influence Justice Okeke on any matter.
She, however, admitted that she contacted the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, after her daughter had narrated her ordeal to her, following the ex parte order issued by Justice Okeke for the sealing off of her daughter’s residence.
“In view of the grey areas surrounding the case, I, therefore, contacted Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and narrated my daughter’s ordeal and, therefore, enquired about the laws governing AMCON case. He remarked that the laws are draconian in their application and he promised to send me a copy, which he did a few days later,” she said.
Justice Ogunbiyi said: “On the allegation of the encounter between Justice Okeke and my daughter, Funke, in his chambers, I wish to state categorially that I never instructed her to see Justice Okeke for any reason whatsoever. If she had done so in company of the evicted residents of all the flats, she acted on her own volition. She is an adult, a married woman with a family and she has a right to protect the interest of her family.
“I wish to emphasise further that I was reliably informed that my daughter was not on her own while in Justice Okeke’s chambers but in company of the other residents, their lawyer, and also the lawyer to one of the parties. The residents’ lawyer was the spokesman on their behalf, contrary to the false impression created in Justice Okeke’s speech where he painted the picture that my daughter was all on her own in his chambers.
“It is unfortunate that Justice Okeke, in his desperation, is looking for who to make a scapegoat for the purpose of hanging on his predicament. He presupposes that his narration will gain more publicity if he centres it around a Supreme Court justice’s daughter. This is most unfair and ungodly.”
Justice Ogunbiyi said that Justice Okeke could not have been a victim of judicial injustice as a result of any act done either by her or her daughter.
“I will unequivocally say that Justice Okeke has failed as a retired judicial officer to present to the public the true picture,” she added.
During his valedictory session held in his honour last month, Justice Okeke accused Justice Ogunbiyi, of trying to influence a case involving the convicted former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecelia Ibru.
He also accused Justice Ogunbiyi of being behind his travails with NJC.