A former Assistant Director Procurement in the Defence Intelligence Agency, Capt . Emmanuel Ekpe , has reportedly been summoned to appear before a court -martial in Lagos , for allegedly petitioning the president , accusing the Chief of Naval Staff , Vice Admiral Ibok -Ete Ekwe Ibas , of misconduct .
Ekpe , aka Owen , a decorated naval officer , was said to have been relieved of his appointment at the DIA following the petition in which he accused Ibas of corruption , abuse of office and employment of state powers to pursue personal vendetta .
This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the lawyers to the captain , Pelumi Olajengbesi , titled, ‘ Demand for the immediate sacking of the CNS for gross misconduct and acts capable of destroying national security . ’
The statement said Owen ’ s ordeal began in 1996 while onboard NNS AMBE when he admonished Ibas to serve with integrity after he allegedly discovered that the CNS was involved in corrupt practices.
“Rather than taking the admonition of Capt . Owen , the now CNS locked him up in the toilet and tried him for a trumped -up offence while still onboard the NNS AMBE in Liberia . The innocent and decent Captain has since 1996 remained an object of victimisation by the now CNS in the Nigerian Navy , ” the lawyer alleged.
Olajengbesi further said the CNS has channelled resources to make life as a naval officer unbearable for Owen , adding that Ibas withheld funds from him for the training of naval officers for Admiralty yachting regatta in India in 2016 and 2017.
He added , “The CNS also refused to approve funds to purchase equipment for the officers nominated to attend the exercise in India . The diligent Captain was forced to borrow the sum of $ 2 , 400 for the purchase of the said equipment in honour and respect for the Nigerian Navy without any refund till date . He has been denied promotion thrice and his records have been tampered with. ”
The lawyer explained that after enduring several years of suffering and intimidation , Owen filed a petition to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari , but Ibas allegedly frustrated the complaint by assuming jurisdiction over it.
He stated , “Rather , the CNS assumed jurisdiction by proxy over the matter by setting up a committee to hear the complaint. The committee simply ignored the complaints and manufactured new spurious issues , thereby turning the petitioner to the accused person in an attempt to silence him . The CNS has now summoned Capt . Owen to Lagos to face a court -martial . ”
The statement argued that the CNS had no authority to convene a court -martial , noting that by section 131 of the Armed Forces Act , officers having the power to convene a court -martial are the President, the Chief of Defence Staff or the Service Chiefs; a general officer commanding , a brigadier , colonel or lieutenant colonel or their corresponding ranks.
It further noted , “Constituting the court -martial in Lagos whilst the officer is engaged in Abuja because of his official posting is tantamount to a deliberate attempt to frustrate him when same could have been constituted in Abuja and made for ease of attendance of proceedings, among others . ”
The lawyer called on the President to review Owen ’ s case, while demanding the sacking of the CNS without further delay “to save the reputation , integrity and right standings of the Nigerian Navy and by extension , the Armed Forces as a whole . ”
When contacted , the NN spokesman , Suleiman Dahun , said, “The matter is being handled administratively. ”
Copyright PUNCH .