Former chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, who is still wanted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, has been honoured by the Post Graduate Students Government of the University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State.

Obono-Obla was suspended through an approval given by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in a letter dated August 14, 2019 and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

The ICPC declared Obono-Obla wanted in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, accusing him of failing to honour its invitation over a number of allegations bordering on alleged fraud and corruption. The statement said there was evidence that Obono-Obla left Nigeria in August 2019 and had yet to return to the country.

It stated further that Obono-Obla was facing a series of allegations levelled against him by members of the public on his role as head of the SPIP.

After a series of reports exclusively published by THE PUNCH, which suggested that the former SPIP boss was in Nigeria and attending public functions, ICPC, during a press conference, said through the spokesperson that the commission would unleash security men to fish him out. She also advised him to come out of hiding and prove his innocence.

She had said, “We have read in the media about his being available in the country and making statement on social media. We have advised him to come out of hiding and present himself to ICPC. That is the only way he can clear his name. The notice on him is still there. The declaration about him being wanted is still valid.

“Signals have been given to law enforcement agencies so it is still valid. Whenever they see him in person, they will make sure they get him to ICPC. He has not come even though we have invited him, the best thing for him to do is to come and clear his name. What is difficult in him coming forward to defend himself?

“We have also heard from the media how he has been calling ICPC names, saying ICPC is in rivalry with his (former) office. I have had people calling me to comment on Obono-Obla statement that ICPC chairman is his rival. The decent thing is for him to come to ICPC to clear his name.”

In the latest post on his Facebook account, Obono-Obla displayed a plaque which he claimed was a symbol of the honour done on him by the UNICAL students in recognition of his immense contribution, support and guidance, leading to the success of the association. Although the plaque was dated December 2019, Obono-Obla posted the plaque on February 9, 2020, claiming that the ceremony was held a day earlier.

He wrote, “Today, the 8 February 2020, the Executive Committee of the Government of the Post Graduate Students of the University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria presented to me the “Award of Patriotism!”

On the same day, the former SPIP boss suggested that while ICPC left certain corrupt people, it went after people like him. He was referring to numerous accounts and huge sums lodged in them by the former governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji and his son, Chinedum, which he posted on his Facebook account.

He had written, “Where is ICPC? Here are the details of the Abia State monies EFCC traced to T.A Orji through his son Chinedum Orji’s account (T.A Orji’s son and now Abia State HoA Speaker ) and the banks where some are hidden with bank accounts.”

When our correspondent called the ICPC spokesperson, Okoduwa, to respond to Obono-Obla’s  charge on the commission and to know if security agents had been deployed to fish him out, there was no response from her while a text message sent to her telephone was not replied.

Copyright PUNCH.