Last weekend, I read a piece by disbarred controversial Lagos lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye on his Facebook group, The Due Process Advocates-DPA captioned “I do not intend to panic anybody, but…”, wherein he alleged threats in Abuja, accusing the Police of being after him.
The post reads in part: “Some people in the Nigerian Police have not been happy the way I blamed the Nigerian Police for their handling of Chacha’s case. Also, David Aiyedogbon has been worried by the fact that my investigation into the case pointed at him as a suspect. And David has powerful friends within the Police and in other powerful places in Abuja. David is in Court pursuing a Civil litigation against me. The Police are helping David in his case. It has not been easy for them. For more than one year, David’s case is not making any headway….”
Of my nearly two decades of practice in the pen profession, I had the privilege of covering Crime and Judiciary beats for about six years, so, I understand how the system works. The essence of this piece is not to respond to Ugwuonye, but to perform my social responsibility function and to put issues in perspectives.
First, Emeka Ugwuonye is on Police bail and ought to be assisting the Police in looking for the missing Abuja woman, Charity Aiyedogbon (Chacha). This, he brought upon himself, due to his usual reckless behavior. The implication of being on bail (in case he does not know) is that the matter is not determined yet. It is therefore the prerogative of the Police to invite him whenever the need arises, until the matter is charged to court and/or dispensed of. Someone signed his bail bond. Whenever Ugwuonye is needed and he refuses to show up, the Police will simply pick his guarantor, pending when he shows up. This is how the Police operates.
Besides, Ugwuonye was initially arrested by a Warrant of a Magistrate Court. As a trained lawyer, one expects him to know that the warrant still subsists and has not been set aside. He should stop being mischievous.
In addition, as at the time Emeka was arrested and detained thrice, the ten billion Naira (N10b) Civil defamation case filed against him had not been filed. His case with the police therefore predates David’s case with him.
By the way, Police does not ordinarily arrest on civil matters. Ugwuonye was arrested because of the fact that he is a suspect in a criminal case. His claim that the Police is involving themselves in a civil case is simply mischievous. As at today, he is a suspect in Chacha’s case and is also accused of criminal defamation.
Again, I have followed the case of the missing Charity Aiyedogbon for, at least, one year now and all I see at every stage are inconsistencies and tissues of incoherencies from Ugwuonye. I can recall that many members of the DPA Facebook group raised the red flag when Ugwuonye made very wild allegations against ex-husband of the missing Charity Aiyedogbon, David Aiyedogbon. They raised several questions for him to answer, but, in his usual bravado, he continued without caution. Today, most of those questions are being raised in every quarter and he has no answers for any.
For instance, in one of those his earlier posts where he directly accused Mr. Aiyedogbon of having a hand in the sudden disappearance of his estranged wife, Charity, Ugwuonye said:
“I now have overwhelming evidence that Mr. David Aiyedogbon killed his wife, Chacha. David has an idea of the kind of evidence at my disposal.”
Today, Ugwuonye has recanted, now claiming that he only suspected Mr. Aiyedogbon. Can someone please tell him that having an overwhelming evidence to establish murder and mere suspicion do not mean the same thing.
In another post, he said: “this is the headless and dismembered body of Charity Aiyedogbon (posting a corpse on his DPA Facebook page). DPA has been able to identify this as her body within the limits of resources at our disposal.”
As at this end of January, 2018, Emeka Ugwuonye has not provided any evidence whatsoever to substantiate his claims, despite being called on by the Police and the High Court to so do. What investigations did he make and what are his findings two years after? If it is no longer David, then who did? Where is Charity Aiyedogbon? Why did you declare her dead? Certainly, you know what many others, including the Police do not know. Please, tell the authorities now.
More so, on the 28th of June, 2016, he asserted: “.I will describe David as a low-life and cold-blooded murderer of his own wife. The only reason I would not go further to describe David in the most despicable language that he rightly deserves is that I would rather focus my argument on points that would lead to justice for Chacha.”
“…the issue is not whether Emeka’s account is accurate or not, but, rather, the issue is whether Emeka has evidence that would send David to the hangman. Yes, I do…” Now, the time has come for him to provide the evidence. Again, I ask Ugwuonye, where is Chacha?
In all of these, Ugwuonye has not provided any single evidence. The Police has questioned him at least three times in Abuja on the matter, as part of their investigation to unravel the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of Charity Aiyedogbon. In all the interactions, he has not provided any credible or useful information to substantiate his claims.
Following his refusal to produce the ‘overwhelming evidence’, Mr. David Aiyedogbon instituted a N10b civil defamation suit against him.
The Suit, with number CV/2750/16, between David Aiyedogbon (Plaintiff) and Emeka Ugwuonye (Defendant), before Justice Peter Kekemeke of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 14, Apo Abuja; also prays that the defendant be ordered to pay for the cost of the suit.
The Plaintiff is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction “restraining the Defendant, his Agents, Privies, Associates or whosoever called” from making further defamatory publications against him and his family members.
The matter has been on, although slow. No doubt, Ugwuonye had introduced different preliminary objections and motions, aimed at stalling the case, but, as at the last sitting, they were all dispensed of. Could that be what he meant by that the case is not making headway?
The matter comes up in March 2018. Surprisingly, as at today, Ugwuonye has not filed any response to the suit. He has not filed any defense whatsoever. At the Police, he provided no evidence. Now, in Court, he has neither provided evidence nor filed a defense.
In view of the foregoing, is there any reason why the Police should not arrest and charge Ugwuonye for criminal defamation, false information/alarm and criminal conspiracy? Is there no provision(s) in our laws to compel Ugwuonye to prove what he asserted? Were those claims not enough to cause chaos and public disorder? I may not know why Police is yet to do the needful.
Again, the corpse, said to have been dismembered beyond identification was allegedly seen in Abuja on the 12th of May 2016 and Mr. Ugwuonye claimed it was Chacha’s body. Till date, who has identified the corpse as that of Chacha? Impeccable sources say a DNA test conducted on the body revealed otherwise. Children of the missing woman have also chorused on several platforms that their mother was NOT dead. How then did Ugwuonye conclude that she is dead? Does he not need to explain?
Meanwhile, the last is yet to be heard about how he got involved in the matter. He claimed to have been in the United States of America as at the time of Chacha’s disappearance and only came into Nigeria in June, 2016, after being briefed to handle the matter, but his call log betrayed him, showing that he was in Abuja on the 10th, 11th and 12th of May, 2016; same time Chacha is said to have got missing. Private investigators and telecommunication service providers revealed that he made calls around Jabi area of Abuja, up till midnight same 10th and 11th of May. He also made calls around Transcorp Hilton area of Abuja on the 10th of May and one wonders if it is a coincidence that it was at the same spot that the principal suspect, Chukwujekwu Ezeugo (at large) claim he dropped the missing woman around the same time. Ugwuonye departed Abuja on the 12th of May, 2016; same day he claimed to have seen the purported dismembered body. When confronted by the Police in Abuja with evidence of his movement and call logs, he owned up, claiming he forgot that he was around.
Today, Chacha’s car and two handsets have been recovered, following a tip-off by one of the suspects in custody. We await explanations from those that were in possession of the items on their roles, accomplices and her whereabouts.
It also baffles me why the families of the missing Chacha and Jekwu (on exile) are not looking for them. It is only natural that if one is missing, his/her family members will make efforts to look for them, but for the family of Chacha, ‘life goes on’.
Unfortunately, the Police has not made any progress in locating/arresting the principal suspect, Jekwu Ezeugo, who has also not been seen since after the disappearance of Chacha. Reports say he was the person that dropped Chacha at Transcorp Hilton and indeed, the last person to see her.
Ugwuonye, in an earlier Facebook post said he knows the whereabouts of Jekwu, the principal suspect and promised to help Police find him, but insisted that he will only release him to the Police on agreed terms. Why has he not done that?
What about Nsikak Udoh, the lawyer who admitted to forging the missing woman’s signature? He confessed to the Police that he forged Charity’s signature in an affidavit he filed in court. He therefore lied on oath. Both himself and the Commissioner for oaths in the Federal High Court, Abuja judicial division, risk being prosecuted by the Police for forgery and perjury. But, when will that happen?
The suit purportedly filed by Chacha at the Federal High Court, Lokoja, wherein Nsikak Udoh represented her has long been decided in favour of David Aiyedogbon. The Court held that the plaintiff had no locus to have instituted the action.
As at today, the trial of Ikechukwu (IK), Jekwu’s brother ongoing. Since the Police has charged IK, who assisted in criminally changing the plate number and hiding the vehicle, it is unfair not to charge the remaining, else, it will amount to selective justice.
The Police must realise that the world is watching. When will the prosecution of all those found complicit in this matter commence?
The time has come for Ugwuonye to come forward with his ‘overwhelming evidence’ linking David Aiyedogbon with the sudden disappearance of his former wife. As a Harvard trained lawyer of over twenty-five years (as he claims), he surely knows that he that asserts must prove.
The time to provide the overwhelming evidence or face prosecution is now!
Destiny Ugorji is an Abuja-based Journalist and Public Affairs analyst. You can reach him on: [email protected]