Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has pleaded with the Federal High Court in Lagos not to judge his case based on a series of statements he wrote while in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Dudafa, who is being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N5.1bn, told Justice Mohammed Idris, before who he is being tried, on Monday that using those statements would occasion injustice against him, claiming that he did not voluntarily make them.
He told the judge that the anti-graft agency locked him up for about two months and subjected him to what he described as dehumanising treatments, thereby giving him no other option but to write and sign the statements against his will in order to secure his freedom.
Dudafa stated this while being led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, during a trial-within-trial to test the authenticity of the confessional statements and asset declaration form he filed while in the EFCC custody.
“After the 13th of May, 2016, they took me back to the cell and they continued taking me out each day so that I could go through agony.
“In the cell, I was isolated. I was not treated like any other detainee. All other detainees had access to their phones and food but me. My family members were stopped from bringing food to me and I accused the EFCC of planning to poison me.
“They wanted to break me down, to make me implicate some people. They asked me questions about former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; they said I was not their targets and made all sorts of overtures but I said over my dead body,” Dudafa said.
Earlier, Dudafa, who now limps, narrated to Justice Idris how he got his spinal cord dislocated in the EFCC cell, adding that the condition deteriorated because the EFCC allegedly shunned the recommendation of the military hospital to transfer him to a specialist for treatment.
“The ailment I have today, a spinal cord dislocation, I want to state that it was within that period of torture and agony that my spinal cord got dislocated for sitting all through from morning till night and no one would talk to you, it was excruciating.”
He claimed that the EFCC also rejected the offer by his family to take him out for treatment and foot the bill.
He further claimed that no fewer than 30 of his friends and family members were arrested because of him.
He claimed that by the time they had frozen all his bank accounts, that of his wife and his children and he could not pay the tuition of his child studying in the US, while he was still in serious daily pain due to his dislocated spinal cord, he succumbed to pressure.
He said after being detained for many weeks he was taken before the EFCC’s Deputy Director of Operations, Mr. Iliyasu Kwarbai, who threatened and then made overtures to him that he would be released if he could cooperate.
“Eventually I had no objection to what he said, because I needed my freedom.
“I was dying at that time; my son was stranded in the university; my wife and children were hungry, everything became a yardstick to my freedom.
“These statements were largely dictated based on my freedom. The entire so-called asset declaration is a sham.
“I want to conclude that it will be unfair to use these statements against me. These statements that they themselves orchestrated and teleguided is what they want to use against me in a court of law? It was bad.
“Statements that were made under such dehumanising, agonising conditions are what they want to use against me in the temple of justice,” Dudada said.
Under cross-examination by the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, Dudafa maintained that his statements were not voluntary despite the cautionary words written and read to him before he wrote the statements.
Justice Idris adjourned till Tuesday (today) for continuation of cross-examination.