Mr. Kola Awodein, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lawyer to President Muhammadu Buhari, has dismissed, as ridiculous and revolting, media reports suggesting that he gave Justice Niyi Ademola of the Federal High Court a bribe of N500,000 on behalf of the President during the certificate controversy sparked while he was presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Justice Ademola is currently facing trial for alleged corruption.
Mr. Awodein’s reaction was contained in a statement he issued on Wednesday. The statement, attached to a State House release signed by Mr. Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson, quoted the lawyer as saying that the money he gave to Justice Ademola was a personal gift.
"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,” the statement quoted Mr. Awodein as saying.
The lawyer explained that he has known Justice Ademola for over 35 years, a fact to which he claimed many lawyers and other prominent professionals in Lagos could testify. He also claimed to have been a man of impeccable integrity.
"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," he stated.