Jonah Okah, who was recently arrested and arraigned for defamation after he raised an alarm over missing $4.6 million, has accused Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State of being behind his ordeal.

Mr. Okah made the allegation in a press statement issued Monday from his detention cell in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa.

On August 31, 2016, the police arrested Mr. Okah, a state civil servant, and charged him with defaming the Government House accountant, Richard Etonye. Mr. Okah had reportedly alleged that Mr. Etonye had absconded with the sum of $4.6 million handed over to him by the governor for safe keeping.

Earlier the police had raided Mr. Etonye’s residence in Yenagoa in search of the purported missing funds said to belong to Dickson.

In a statement to newsmen, the accountant stated that the raid at his residence was illegal, adding that no money was missing.

Governor Dickson’s administration then imputed political motives to Mr. Okah’s allegation, widely reported by the media.

The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Jonathan Obuebite, denied that the state government was behind Mr. Oka’s ordeal, noting that the detained man’s claims were false.

Mr. Obuebite declared that the state government was not involved in the prosecution of Mr. Okah, adding that the state was not an interested party in the case.

However, Mr. Okah accused Governor Dickson of direct involvement in his travails, asserting that he was being punished for his support for former Governor Timipre Sylva in the December 2015 governorship election. Dismissing the state government’s denial, Mr. Okah insisted that Mr. Dickson was sponsoring his trial.

“In a case of misdemeanor between two civil servants, what is the state government’s interest in clamping down on me with a contingent of armed security personnel?” stated Mr. Okah in his statement. He added: “In a case of defamation involving two civil servants, what is government’s interest in directing a non-civil servant, and Solicitor-General/Permanent Secretary to write a petition against me?

“The petition to the Bayelsa Commissioner of Police claimed that I defamed one Richard Etonye. Whose interest was my illegal arrest meant to serve?”

Mr. Okah questioned the involvement of state lawyers in a private case between civil servants, and accused Governor Dickson of conspiring with the magistrate to detain him without “adequate time and facilities” for
his defense.

Governor Seriake Dickson


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