By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
A group, under the auspices of One Voice Against Corruption (OVAC), has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to direct the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, to reopen prosecution of Chief Mike Okibe Onoja and all other persons indicted in the Ikeja Army Cantonment bomb blast.
In a petition written to the President, through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and signed by OVAC National President, John Folarin Odusote, the group said it believed such action would send a clear message to Nigerians and the international community that the present administration has zero-tolerance for established cases of corruption.
The group, in a copy of the petition made available to journalists yesterday, in Abuja, stated that the panel of inquiry set up by the then administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo indicted Chief Mike Onoja for failing to apply the funds meant for cooling the ammunition depot.
“Chief Onoja, as Permanent Secretary was Director-General of Defence when the contract was awarded. Sadly, up till this moment, nothing has been done to bring him to book for his acts that resulted in such huge loss of lives,” the group noted.
Speaking further, OVAC said “it is on record that Chief Onoja was a Permanent Secretary in the civil service, at the Ministry of Defence, before he was dismissed from the service for corrupt acts.”
It said: “Onoja used his office of the civil service, as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, to build a vast personal interest in Nigeria and abroad. In addition to the properties he owns in Nigeria and abroad, he has held unto the foreign account he operated as a civil servant with impunity, in contravention of the public service rules in Nigeria.”
It added that a combined reports of the British Interpol and Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) that jointly investigated him during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration linked Onoja to several properties.
“We, therefore, make the appeal before your office to direct the Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice to cause an immediate inquiry and possible prosecution of the above mentioned character to be brought to book. This will save us and victims of this heinous crime against humanity the long journey to the International Criminal Court of Justice at Hague,” it concluded.
Mr. Onoja could be reached for comments as at the time of filing this report