At the resumed hearing, yesterday, of the trial of former chief of naval staff, Admiral Usman Jubril (rtd) at the Maitama division of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, Jubril who is the first defendant in the suit, told the court that he was pressurized by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to agree to their terms of writing a confessional statement on the 18th of April, 2016, which was tendered before the court as Exhibit AA1.
He told the court that his wife was invited by the EFCC on the 18th of April, 2016 for interrogation, and that he and his friend, Gen Bauta, a retired military police officer and lawyer, accompanied his wife to the venue of the interrogation.
He said that on arriving at the EFCC office, he raised an objection to the fact that his wife, rather than himself, was to be interrogated, especially as the matter had to do with the Nigerian Navy, but that he was simply asked to cooperate with his interrogators by the three operatives he met there, namely Shehu Alla, Nweke Cyril Chidi and Zara.
Jubril added that he was not allowed into the interrogation room with his wife, but was rather being briefed on how the interrogation was going on.
He stated that Mr. Chidi came out from time to time to tell him that his wife was not cooperating, and that she may be detained if she refused to cooperate.
“They requested that my wife should follow them to the interrogation room, and enquired if my wife came with any lawyer. She told them she came with myself and my friend, Gen. Bauta. I was told to take my seat outside of the interrogation room, while my wife went in with them.
“Mr. Chidi came out and met with me from time to time, and told me that my wife was not cooperating with the team, and for that reason, she was going to be detained. That she would however not be detained if I cooperate with the team,” said Jubril.
Jubril further stated that he enquired the manner of cooperation they were soliciting from him, and was told by Mr. Chidi to agree to write a statement in which he would accept that it was a tradition for the Nigerian Navy to possess the house at Plot No. 2717 at Maitama for the serving Chief of Naval Staff, to which he consented just in a bid to save his wife from being detained.
At the end of his testimony, Jubril asserted that the content of the written statement he earlier tendered in court was written by him, but under duress as he only cooperated with his wife’s interrogators to avoid having his wife detained.
“My lord, I appreciate the content of this statement made by me, tagged Exhibit AA1. I would have made a statement otherwise if there were no threats from the operatives of the EFCC,” said Jubril.
After the testimony, Jubril was further cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, A. Farouk, who suggested that it would be appropriate to defer addresses in the matter.
And in his ruling, the trial judge, Justice Sadiq Umar ruled the matter to be adjourned to the 17th of May, 2018 for the adoption of written addresses for trial within trial.
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