By Destiny Ugorji
Disbarred Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Emeka Ugwuonye, was on Monday arraigned before Magistrate Court 9, Wuse, Abuja, presided over by Abdulaziz Omezia on a nine-count charge of obstruction and interference with Police investigation, offensive publications among other seven charges.
The charge reads “extortion by threat of accusation, an offence punishable by death, injurious falsehood, defamation, giving false information, with intent to mislead public servant, obstructing public servant in discharge of his duty, use of insulting or abusive language, influencing course of justice, fabricating false evidence, inciting disturbance, failing to assist public servant when bound by law to assist and influencing course of justice contrary to sections 295, 393, 392, 140, 148, 399, 182, 158, 114, 150 and 182 of the Penal Code.”
Some other charges preferred against him are within the jurisdiction of the High Court and would be appropriately filed when High courts resume from holidays.
When the charges were read out to him in court on Monday, he pleaded not guilty. The matter is adjourned to August 23, 2018. He was however granted bail under stringent conditions, including two Civil Servants not below grade level 12, among other requirements. As at the time of filing this report, he is yet to fulfil the bail conditions.
Mr Ugwuonye was arrested last Friday by men of the FCT Police command in Abuja over his alleged infamous role in the obstruction of investigations into the murder of Abuja business woman, Charity Aiyedogbon.
His arrest followed a petition against him over offensive publications and alleged obstruction of police investigations in the case of late Charity Aiyedogbon.
The Petition, addressed to the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Abuja, written by Juris Associates, signed by Uzoma Nnona, Esq, captioned “Complaint of Offensive Publications and Distortion of facts amounting to Interference with ongoing Police investigation into the death of Mrs. Charity Aiyedogbon, against Mr. Emeka Ugwuonye”, dated 25th June, 2018; urged the Police to investigate Mr. Ugwuonye over his recent online posts on the late Mrs. Aiyedogbon’s case.
The petition reads in part:
“It is important to note at this point that the said confession of the arrested suspect, Mr. Chukwuemeka Paul Ezeugo clearly corroborated the eye witness account of Mr. Emeka Ugwuonye, which was published on his Due Process Advocate page on Facebook in May 2016, suggesting that he had pre-knowledge of the crime but concealed it.”
“It is also on record that Mr. Ugwuonye did not report to the Police the information about the disappearance and now death of our client’s estranged wife, which he now claims to have had before the confession of the principal suspects, even though he was invited several times by the police over this matter.”
“…the Commissioner of Police should kindly direct that Mr. Emeka Ugwuonye be invited, for questioning, over his recent statements on his Due Process Advocates page on Facebook, as it is obvious that he has privileged information on the disappearance and eventual death of Mrs. Charity Aiyedogbon, having discredited the investigation of the FCT Police Command and the parade of the principal suspects in this matter.”
Mr Ugwuonye had, shortly after the confessional statement and eventual parade of the principal suspect in the case of the late Charity Aiyedogbon, Chukwujekwu Ezeugo, posted several disturbing comments, discrediting police investigation and procedure. He allegedly claimed to have conducted a private investigation that was superior to that of the Police, a claim he is said to have bungled all opportunities created by the police to enable him prove himself.
Mr Ugwuonye is also accused of interfering with police investigation by allegedly aiding the suspect to escape arrest sometime in 2016.
Meanwhile, Mr Ugwuonye is facing three other suits over his alleged defamatory statements against some persons in relation to late Charity Aiyedogbon.
One of them is a N10 billion suit instituted against him by ex-husband of late Charity, Mr David Aiyedogbon, who approached the Court to seek redress following the alleged refusal of Ugwuonye to desist from posting materials he considered defamatory on his Facebook group, The Due Process Advocates. He also wrote Mr. Ugwuonye through his lawyers, demanding an apology and retraction, but he refused to heed, leaving Mr. Aiyedogbon with no option, but to approach the court to seek justice.
Mr Ugwuonye had falsely accused Mr. Aiyedogbon of having a hand in the sudden disappearance of his estranged wife, Charity Aiyedogbon, a claim he is unable to substantiate till date.
In addition to the Ten Billion Naira damages, the Suit, with number CV/2750/16, between David Aiyedogbon (Plaintiff) and Emeka Ugwuonye (Defendant) on defamation of character, before Justice Peter Kekemeke of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 14, Apo, Abuja; also prays that the defendant be ordered to pay for the cost of the litigation.
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.
Mr Ugwuonye is accused of posting severally on The Due Process Advocates (DPA), a Facebook group, claiming to have evidence of the involvement of the late Charity Aiyedogbon’s ex-husband, David Aiyedogbon in her sudden disappearance. One of the posts reads in part:
“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.”
In another development, lawyer to Mr. Aiyedogbon, Tony Ogbulafor also dragged Mr. Ugwuonye to Court for what he also sees as a defamatory publication on the same Due Process Advocate against him.
Similarly, Ugwuonye is facing a case of injurious falsehood and false evidence before a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse zone 2 area of Abuja, presided over by Chief Magistrate Mabel Bello.
He was first arraigned alongside two Abuja-based lawyers, Nsikak Udoh and Farouk Khamagam before the Chief Magistrate Court for their alleged criminal roles in the disappearance of missing Abuja woman, Charity Aiyedogbon.
Mr Ugwuonye is charged with false evidence and injurious falsehood, contrary to sections: 158 and 393 of the Penal Code; while the other two lawyers were charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery, impersonation, giving false information with intent to mislead a public servant contrary to sections 97, 364, 179, and 178 of the Penal Code.
He was recently disbarred in Nigeria and his License to practice as a Lawyer revoked. Investigations revealed that he is presently being investigated in the United States over unethical practices, following a petition by one Oluchi Enaworu.
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