PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyer, Kola Awodein, SAN, has admitted that he gave the sum of N500,000 to Justice Niyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, currently standing trial for alleged corruption.
He however said it was a personal gift to the Judge on the occasion of his daughter’s High Society wedding solemnization, saying it was according judicial customs and traditions.
He added that it was utterly ridiculous to say that he gave the money at the instance of the president Buhari during his no certificate saga as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement routed through the Presidency and signed by the Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina on Wednesday, Awodein said that “Nigerians know that President Buhari challenged the elections of 2003, 2007, and 2011, up to the Supreme Court, and not once was he named as trying to compromise any Judge, though some of them were his schoolmates, or contemporary, at one time or the other.”
He said: “It is in keeping with the President’s time-tested reputation as a man of truth and integrity. Any attempt to sully that reputation is bound to fail, inexorably.
The statement reads in full:
“I am constrained to make in absolute good faith, in good conscience and in the interest of justice and fair play the following very short statement on account of the distorted news story currently being peddled as affecting the person of Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and my good and very noble self.
“The very simple and plain facts are as follows: “I have known as a friend and for well over 35 years Mr. Justice Niyi Ademola, a notorious fact known to majority of lawyers who have practiced especially in Lagos for over that same period more or less and also to so many other professionals of other disciplines and other prominent and not so prominent Nigerians.
“It is a fact that the sum of money mentioned was personally paid by me as a friend to Mr. Justice Ademola as a personal gift, as our custom well recognizes and demands, on the occasion of his daughter’s High Society wedding solemnized at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, on the 9th of May 2015, which I attended in person.
“I was fully convinced then, as I remain today, that I could do no less as a friend of longstanding to fairly reasonably support him on that memorable occasion of his daughter’s wedding.
“Anyone and everyone who knows me would readily and unquestionably testify that I am and have always been a man of impeccable integrity on and off the Courts and that such a record speaks always loudly for itself.
“I would conclude by stating categorically and without any equivocation that any link whatsoever with Mr. President, or any court case or cases, of my personal gift from my personal resources delivered to Justice Niyi Ademola by myself on that occasion or any suggestion whatsoever that it was anything but such a gift or that it ever came from Mr. President or at his instance or that I was acting, under any circumstances, on his behalf is most malicious, utterly ridiculous and in very, very poor and revolting taste and most undeserving of any further comments.”