A former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd.), has denied media reports about him expressing regret for accepting the appointment to be chairman of the Federal Government’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Magu is being investigated over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets from May 2015 to May 2020, he time he acted as chairman of the anti-graft agency.
Reports had quoted two lawyers representing Magu that Salami expressed regrets accepting the appointment during the proceedings of the panel last week.
But Salami in a statement on Tuesday accused the lawyers of planting reports in the media that he regrets chairing the panel.
“The reports were a figment of the wild imagination of the reporter, the two lawyers quoted as his sources and the medium that published the story.
“There was no time anything near the unthinkable scenario painted in the false story occurred in any meeting between myself and the lawyers to Magu or any other person, for that matter, since the Judicial Commission of Inquiry began its sittings.
“I have no cause to express any regret over my Chairmanship of the Commission, not to talk of betraying any form of emotion before anyone about it. I see my appointment to serve as the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry as an honour and call to service, thus my decision to accept diligently and patriotically discharge this responsibility.
“I have never appointed any of the two lawyers or any other person(s) to speak on my behalf as I can express myself without recourse to the lawyers of the persons we are probing. As an eminent jurist, who retired as the President of the Court of Appeal, I have handled much more complex cases than the current one before the Commission. There is no doubt that the false reports were aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing my hard-earned reputation and integrity. I remain resolute and committed to the service of the nation and ready to champion the ideals of justice and fairness.
“I want to point out that such wild claims against me and the Commission are not strange to me, given the manner in which the lawyers to Magu have been carrying on in the conduct of their client’s case before the Commission. Planting such lies in the media about proceedings at the panel has been their pastime. They believe that it is by engaging in such media propaganda against the Commission that their client can be easily absolved of the various allegations that have been brought against him,” he said.
Asking Nigerians to disregard the report, Salami said the “lies and blackmail” will not deter him and other members of the panel from discharging their duty.
He said the panel which he chairs will continue its investigation of the allegations against Magu with a view to unearthing the truth and ensuring that justice is done.