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Okiro laments negative campaign by SaharaReporters, says Publisher not clean (No, I’m clean —Sowore)

By News Express on 13/04/2013

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A former Nigerian Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Sir Mike Okiro, has cried out over what he considers to be a well orchestrated negative campaign by the US-based portal SaharaReporters.

“I do not know what I have done to the publisher to warrant this,” said Okiro on phone to News Express from his Abuja base.

He spoke against the background of an April 5 story by SaharaReporters accusing him of sharing in the loot by former IGP Sunday Ehidero and Commissioner of Police John Obaniyi, in charge of budget —an allegation which Okiro vehemently denies.

Okiro, who regretted that it has become a periodic practice by SaharaReporters to publish falsehoods about him, said it was possible that the Publisher, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, was out to avenge whatever he (Okiro) might have done to him during his days as the Police Area Commander in Surulere, Lagos, in the early ’90s when Sowore was a student leader at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

“There were three of them who were always getting into trouble and were arrested from time to time. These things happen in this our work; some people may not be happy with you because you offended them while performing your duties,” Okiro said.

While Okiro (shown in photo) did not accuse Sowore of any specific crime, he insisted that the radical publisher “is not clean.”

Okiro spoke just as a man who claimed to have been a UNILAG student at the time Sowore was a student union leader there, circulated a statement on April 8 accusing Sowore of being on a vengeance mission following his experience in Okiro’s hands during his days as a student leader.

In the statement, Olu Williams accused Sowore of having “a dirty past.” He went on to detail specific allegations against Sowore.

On getting Olu Williams’ mail, News Express promptly contacted Sowore for his side of the story. Below is his reply:

Re: Allegations of alleged rape and corruption: A Request for your reaction

Isaac,

 I know someone put you to this, but regardless I will respond to your allegations as follows: inline:

Greetings.

News Express would like to get your reaction to the following allegations made against your good self by a man who wrote to us, claiming to be a former colleague of yours at UNILAG. We’ll appreciate getting your reply latest by tomorrow to enable us reflect it in our story.

There is NO former colleague of mine at UNILAG who could have made  these allegations, this is patently false, clearly a invention of events packaged between you and some powerful but cowardly corrupt elements in Nigeria as revealed by the reference to past IGP, Mike Okiro in a subsequent question included in this email.

The specific allegations are as follows:

(1) That you have a dirty past. That as a student of University of Lagos (UNILAG) in 1991/1992 session, you were the Student Union Government President. That you lived a questionable life and refused to hand over in 1993 until you were forced out.

I was not forced out in 1993 or at any time as "Student Union Government President", I was firmly in charge of the SUG, known as the "University of Lagos Student Union (ULSU)" until 1994 when I handed over to Malcolm Fabiyi (now Ph.D) at a swearing in event organized by then Speaker SUG speaker, Peter Claver Oparah.

However, I was attacked by cult gangs organized by the Nigerian authorities in March 1994, the attack was led by a police officer. I was hospitalized briefly at LUTH, Idi Araba after the attack. While on a hospital bed I was declared wanted by the police led by the Commissioner of Police of Lagos, James Danbaba. It is necessary to note that while I was hospitalized,  my colleagues including Peter Claver Oparah, Malcolm Fabiyi, Bola Ilori were arrested by the police, tortured and framed for "armed robbery" by the police. That case was handled by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, it was quashed as fast as it was filed.

(2) That you were arrested by Mike Okiro when Okiro was Surulere Area Commander in a case of rape, in which you allegedly raped a female student who is now married with two kids. That Okiro prosecuted you, and you jumped bail. That this explains why you are always attacking Okiro and his family.

Although you provided no date or timing to this particular allegation, I will answer you directly: I have never been arrested by Mike Okiro, I knew him as the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of administration (“ECOMPOL ALPHA”) in the Lagos State Command about 1993 during the June 12 crisis, I met him once at his home in the GRA Ikeja (evening) to secure the release of students illegally arrested by policemen, he pleaded with us, apologized and ordered the release of the students. During the brief encounter, he claimed he was UNILAG alumnus. I have never raped anyone in my life, never been arrested for rape or any criminal offence before. However, I was severally arrested for politically motivated offences and detained at least 8 times. Twice I was charged for "conduct likely to breach public peace".  Once arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate court and once at Ikeja. The cases were dismissed by the judges as they could not prove the charges. These arrests typically took place during student protests aimed at forcing the military out of power. The Nigerian media documented most of my arrests, detention, trial and freedom while at the University of Lagos and after I had left. My last arrest was during the National University Games (NUGA) in 1998 when I led thousands of students to protest against the military and to ask for reinstatement of all Nigeria student activists expelled for political reasons.

(3) That you do not have the morals to write against corruption in Nigeria because while you were UNILAG SUG President you were enmeshed in corruption. That you were responsible for the purchase of student’s buses and transportation, and there was a lot of fraud in the union’s finances which you could not account for. That you swindled the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) and eloped to the USA.

This is also false, the students union during my days did not purchase any buses, however, we ran an efficient private/public transportation system that allowed members of the community including university professors to bring in buses that were painted in green white colour to transport students between the campus and Yaba bus top. It was an orderly process. I never touched the SUG fiances and was never accused of touching funds. I left the university of Lagos in 1994, after two expulsions for political reasons.  I graduated officially in 1993/94 session.  I went to do my youth corps service in 1995/96.

I never worked with the CLO, but had an excellent relationship working in their space because I was part of the United Action for Democracy (UAD) led by Olisa Agbakoba. Abdul Oroh was CLO's executive director during those times. I was never employed by the CLO and never worked or handled CLO funds. Again, this was a blatant lie on your part.

I left Nigeria in 1999, a few months before democratic election were about taking place.

I know the desperation by those in power/out of power to blackmail, intimidate and brazenly concoct reports through individuals like yourself in an attempt to silence SaharaReporters and those associated with the groundbreaking website, but like previous attempts, this too will fail.

Take care,

Omoyele Sowore

Thanks for your cooperation.

Source News Express

Posted 13/04/2013 5:58:21 PM

 

 

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