The Police in Bayelsa State have arrested a civil servant, Jonah Okah, for
criminal defamation of Mr. Ritchie Etonye, the Government House
His arrest followed a petition to the police by Ritche Etonye over a false
allegation Okah levied against him which he also publicized on his
According to the petition, Okah claimed that he had discussed with Ritche
on phone and that he confessed to have absconded with the sum of $4.6
million belonging to the state government.
While expressing his innocence, Etonye stressed in the petition dated 30th
August, 2016, that he neither discussed with Okah as claimed nor absconded
with any money belonging to Bayelsa State Government.
He stated that he was with the state governor, Seriake Dickson, at the
time of Okah’s false allegation, adding that he had travelled with his
boss to Akure in Ondo State where the governor was the chairman of the
Peoples Democratic Party governorship primary election.
“No conversation took place between Mr.Jonah and myself. The whole story
(allegation) is a figment of the author’s imagination, deliberately
crafted to maliciously defame my person, character and ridicule my
office”, he stated.
Etonye, who expressed dismay over Okah’s conduct, had therefore petitioned
the police to invite and interrogate Okah to prove his allegations as he
also threatened litigation to defend his hard earned reputation.
He stated that Okah’s action constituted an offence under section 302 of
the criminal code law of Bayelsa State.
He, however, requested Okah’s unreserved apology which should also be
disseminated via same media he used for the false allegation against him
as condition to halt litigation against Okah.
Etonye further requested Okah to publish the apology letter in two
national newspapers and two local papers with a copy addressed to his
professional body, the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria
(ANAN) to clear his name of any misconduct.
“The allegation of stealing and absconding made against me by Mr. Jonah
Okah has subjected me to terrible shock, psychological trauma, low
professional self-esteem and robbed me of the goodwill I have laboured
hard to earn over the years.
It was a maliciously crafted propaganda designed to impugn my person,
reputation and profession as a chartered accountant”, he stated.