- Says predicament is self inflicted
Bayelsa State government on Wednesday distanced itself from the ordeals of a civil servant, currently serving with the Bayelsa State Ministry of Justice, Jonah Okah, who is facing trial at magistrate court 7 in Yenagoa, over criminal defamation of Mr. Ritchie Etonye, the Government House accountant.
While advising him to face trial, the government insisted that he inflicted his present ordeals on himself.
A statement issued in Yenagoa by the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite, regretted that someone who is on the payroll of the government would be claiming to be a loyalist of a beleaguered opposition figure (Timipre Sylva).
The government told Okah to stop dragging the judiciary to the mud, but seek for ways to get himself out of the criminal defamation of character, for which he is facing trial.
“Neither Governor Dickson or any member of his government is directly or indirectly influencing Okah’s case. It is purely a matter between him and Richie Etonye, an accountant”, he stated.
Obuebite said, Jonah Okah was at various times absent at his duty post during the last governorship election, but was visible in political party rallies, using the said party’s (APC’s) insignia, without any sanction.
The statement reads:
“Few days ago, I issued a statement entitled: “STOP BLAMING US FOR OKAH’s FATE — BAYELSA STATE GOVERNMENT”, this was after I discovered the tissues of lies being peddled by some disgruntled elements in the social media concerning Okah’s arrest and remand in prison.
“Surprisingly, Okah himself has issued a statement which his sponsors said he “smuggled from his prison cell”. In the statement, the detained civil servant turned politician accused Governor Seriake Dickson of master minding the ugly fate that has befallen him.
“The latest provocative accusation is an unwarranted attack on Governor Dickson and it is not only spurious, but lacks all forms of credible substance. As a follow up to my earlier statement and a reply to Okah’s diatribe I wish to again state as follows:
“Neither Governor Dickson or any member of his government is directly or indirectly influencing Okah’s case. It is purely a matter between him and Richie Etonye, an accountant.
“Also Governor Dickson and the Bayelsa State Government do not control the Nigeria Police Force, so the style of Okah’s arrest could not have been orchestrated.
“Okah should recall that the home of the man who took him to court was also recently invaded by over 50 policemen in a commando style acting on a false alarm.
“The government of Bayelsa State is not at war with anyone and for someone like Okah, he is too small a person to waste valuable material time on. In all ramifications, the embattled daytime civil servant and nighttime politician is very inconsequential.
“It is sad that for someone who is on the payroll of the government as at today, is claiming to be a loyalist of a beleaguered opposition figure. Everywhere in the world, Civil Servants loyalty is with the government of the day which is why they are often referred to as AGIP (Any Government In Power)
“Jonah Okah was at various times absent at his duty post during the last governorship election but was visible in political party rallies, using the said party’s insignia without any sanction so why should he be punished now?
“He should stop dragging the judiciary to the mud but seek for ways to get himself out of the criminal defamation of character case he has found himself in. We also caution Okah’s patrons to desist from the blame game and stop using his travails as a fresh means to commence another round of hate and inciting campaign against this administration.
“Finally, as a government we will not be distracted by the antics of those who do not mean well for us and the state. Our focus is to deliver on our mandate and His Excellency, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson is leading that course rightfully.”