My trial makes me regret serving Nigeria, says Orubebe
CCT to give judgement June 30
Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, yesterday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) lamented that his trial had made him to regret serving Nigeria as a minister.
Orubebe, who is facing a criminal charge for alleged failure to declare his assets in 2011, was led in evidence by his counsel, Mr. Selekowoi Larry (SAN).
The former minister, testifying in his own defence, told the tribunal that the charges against him were unfounded and uncalled for as the property for which he was arraigned no longer belonged to him.
Further in his evidence, Orubebe said: “Let me make this point now here before this tribunal that the only regret I have for serving this country is this trial.
“It is very unfortunate, it is regrettable, it is shameful. I am sad and my heart is heavy because I am put on trial on mere empty land in the bush officially given to me by the same government I served.
“Nigerians may not know this and I wish to say it out that during the peak of the militancy in the Niger Delta, I slept with the militants in the creek for two weeks, negotiating with them on how to adopt a peaceful approach for their demands.
“In the end, my efforts brought peace to this country and our oil companies have their peace and Nigeria was better off in the areas of security and economy because of my efforts, only to be compensated with this trial that has destablised me.”
The ex-minister had in his evidence claimed that he did not declare Plot 2057 in Asokoro because as at the time he was leaving government in 2011, he had sold off the land to pay his house rent of two years.
Orubebe told the tribunal that the land in question was allocated to him by government but he sold it to his landlord, Barrister Akinwumi Ajibola for N10 million, to offset the two-year house rent debt he owed him.
The former minister added that it would be criminal for him to have claimed ownership of the property he had sold and the Certificate of Occupancy handed over to the buyer before he left office.
He therefore asked the tribunal to dismiss the charge against him because he had not breached any law as far as the property in dispute was concerned.
Meanwhile, the tribunal chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, has adjourned judgment in the matter till June 30.