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“Salami has become an Emperor” – Magu’s lawyer speaks on being sent out of Panel sitting

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One of the lawyers to Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Zainab Abiola, has described Justice Ayo Salami has an Emperor.

Abiola, who is one of the widows of the late MKO Abiola, was walked out of the panel sitting on Monday by Justice Salami, Chairman of the Presidential panel set up to probe corruption allegations levelled against Magu.

Speaking with The Cable on Monday, Abiola said trouble started during its sitting at the presidential villa on Monday when Wahab Shittu, Magu’s lead counsel, was joined by Abiola and Aliyu Lemu, another of his lawyers.

But Justice Salami insisted that only Shittu would be allowed to defend Magu, and asked his other lawyers to leave the venue. She noted that the chairman of the panel was wrong to refuse Magu’s lawyers’ access to their sitting.

“This is a democratic dispensation, you cannot bring military tactics, a Hitler’s Gestapo rule to this type of occasion,” she said.

“The panel was set up to be public. How then did it become a private sitting with Emperor Salami? He has become an emperor. He told me personally that there is only one chair for a lawyer. So I said, if there is only one chair, send for more chairs now.

“He called the DSS, they were fully armed. So, we left. But the other lady, Fatimah, was bundled and put in a cell, in a prison cell. So, there is a prison in the presidential villa? Nigerians should worry for themselves.”

Speaking further, Abiola said there is no evidence that Magu shows that he is guilty of the allegations against him, describing the probe as a “hatchet job.” She also condemned the panel for trampling upon the rights of the former EFCC chairman.

“If you see how Magu was just sitting there, like a sheep without a shepherd. Like a Christmas goat about to be slaughtered by Emperor Salami. Why would they refuse me access to such a fundamental probe? It is a nullity, very shambolic,” she added.

“They don’t have anything against Magu. Not a shred of evidence. The pastor they said took the money. FCMB has apologised in three national papers to Magu and the pastor. They also said Magu did not investigate the P&ID case and he was exonerated.

“What is the allegation? How can lawyers not be allowed to represent him? It is not as if we went alone; we were introduced by Magu himself. Did they imagine that it will be only one lawyer defending a man like that?

“Twenty-two allegations, 22 lies. The fact of the matter is that this is not a panel of inquiry. It is a Kangaroo contraction with Salami as the emperor.”

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Olugbenga Ige

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.

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