State vs Ugwuonye: Court Adjourns to July 6

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By Destiny Ugorji

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse zone 2 area of Abuja, presided over by Chief Magistrate Mabel Bello, Monday, adjourned a case of false evidence and injurious falsehood against disbarred Lagos lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye to July 6, 2018.

The adjournment was at the instance of Mr Ugwuonye, who could not produce a lawyer to defend him in court; but opted to defend himself; a proposal that was turned down by the presiding Chief Magistrate.

The court which frowned at what appeared like a delay tactics employed by Mr Ugwuonye in the matter, awarded N10,000 cost against him for wasting the time of the court.

Earlier in the day, the Police Prosecutor, E. O. Ochai served the accused, Ugwuonye, with evidence, including inciting posts on his Facebook group, The Due Process Advocates, electronic evidence/broadcast, his statement to the Police and a copy of the letter from the Supreme Court, addressed to Mr Ugwuonye, notifying him that his name has been struck off the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria, a development that evidently ruffled him.

Relying on the evidence and the apex court’s decision on the accused, the prosecutor told the court that Mr Ugwuonye’s integrity is in doubt, urging it not to treat him as a lawyer; an argument that was allowed by the presiding chief magistrate, who then ordered Mr Ugwuonye to produce a lawyer to defend him on the next adjourned date.

It would be recalled that Mr Ugwuonye 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.

Emeka 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.

Ugwuonye is on court bail in the sum of N5 million with a surety, a Civil Servant that earns not less than N300,000 monthly, with a traceable address in the Federal Capital Territory.

Ugwuonye, who had claimed in the exhibits tendered before the court, to have an overwhelming evidence that the missing woman, Charity Aiyedogbon was dead, and that she was killed by her estranged husband, David Aiyedogbon, is expected to show the evidence before the Court.

His trouble may have started when, in different posts on his Facebook group, Due Process Advocates- DPA, he 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.”

In another post, he said: “this is the headless and dismembered body of Charity Aiyedogbon (posting a corpse on his DPA Facebook group). DPA has been able to identify this as her body within the limits of resources at our disposal.

“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…”

When invited by the Police to produce evidence, after several meetings, Ugwuonye was unable to produce any to substantiate his claims.

Ugwuonye is already facing a N10 billion defamation suit filed by Mr David Aiyedogbon. The suit, with number CV/2750/16, before Justice Peter Kekemeke of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 14, Apo Abuja, also prays that the defendant be ordered to pay the cost of the suit.

Similarly, the other two Abuja-based lawyers, Nsikak Udoh and Farouk Khamagam, charged alongside Ugwuonye are said to have confessed in writing to the Police that they forged the signature of their missing client, Charity Aiyedogbon in a suit filed at Federal High Court, Lokoja and served on Mr David Aiyedogbon, two weeks after the disappearance of Charity Aiyedogbon. The suit has since been resolved in favour of Mr Aiyedogbon.

Their trouble started when, those believed to be close to the missing woman were quoted as saying that she went missing on the 9th of May, 2016, but her lawyer, Barrister Nsikak Udoh, handling a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lokoja on 29th April, 2016 against 29 respondents, including her biological children and former husband, David Aiyedogbon, claimed she (Charity) came to his house on the 18th of May, 2016.

Following questions arising from the lawyer’s claim of meeting with the missing woman eight days after her purported disappearance, the Police invited him for questioning, wherein he allegedly confessed that her signature was forged.

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