Ebebe Ukpong, a pastor who was mentioned in the letter written by Justice Inyang Okoro to the chief justice of Nigeria accusing him of leading the former governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State, Umana Umana, to his house to discuss issue of bribe, has denied the allegation.
“I have never led anyone to Justice Okoro nor attended any meeting in his house where the issue of bribery, corruption of any kind or perversion of justice was discussed,” Ukpong said in a statement on Thursday.
Okoro, one of the judges arrested by the Department of State Services over allegation of corruption, had said in his letter that “Umana also made the same request of assistance to win his appeal at the Supreme Court. Umana talked about ‘seeing’ the justices who would hear the appeal. Pastor (Dr.) Ebebe Ukpong, who led Mr. Umana Umana to my house, intercepted and said that the issue of ‘seeing’ the justices was not part of their visit and that, as a pastor, he would not be part of such a discussion. Mr. Umana apologised. I advised them to go and pray about the matter and get a good lawyer. That was how they left my house.”
Ukpong, who described Justice Okoro as a brother, whom he had known for three decades, said he had lived and worked above politics and partisanship.
He said, “I have read in the social media and several newspapers since the night of Tuesday, October 18, 2016, a letter purportedly written by Honourable Justice John I Okoro, JSC, and addressed to the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council.
“In the said letter, Justice Okoro alleged that I led Mr. Umana Umana to visit with him in his residence without giving any details of such visit. Many reactions have followed. I’m constrained to make this statement for record purpose: I have known, in adult context, Hon. Justice Okoro for more than three decades now. He is my brother.
“I have never led anyone to Justice Okoro nor attended any meeting in his house where the issue of bribery, corruption of any kind or perversion of justice was discussed. Of course, I could never have and will never contemplate such as it is against my personal principles informed by my relationship with the Almighty God. I stand always for the truth, integrity and fairness.”