The first time, Ugwuonye was arrested on the charge of concealment. This time, the police claim he is guilty of two offenses. The lawyer who thanked his team members in a statement wrote:
“I was released by 11pm. I don’t know yet what caused them to change their minds. The sudden release interrupted my conference with the 39 inmates in the cell they placed me in.
The first time, the Nigerian police accused me of concealment. They said I concealed from the police the information I o trained from the police. This time, they accused me of two offenses: inciting violence and extortion. They said I incited members of DPA into violence through the posts I made on our group wall. Also, they said that by asking our members to contribute money, I was extorting money from you. Can you imagine Nigerian police accusing me of extortion?
I just hope our members can react to this extortion charge by making contributions to our fund.
I interviewed the 39 inmates in the cell they placed me in. They are now all my clients. I will definitely demanding for their release with immediate effect.”
Read about his ordeal which he shared on the Facebook page of The Due Process Advocates, DPA) which he titled, “THE NIGERIAN POLICE HAVE NEVER BEEN HONEST OR FAIR IN MY CASE”. Read…
FOR INSTANCE, since Monday, they told me we were to go where the headless body of Chacha was buried in order to exhume it for DNA test. (For the police, this will confirm whether it is Chacha’s body). Remember it was my investigation that led them to her grave. Otherwise, the Abuja Police command had no clue what happened or where the body was buried. They have never appreciated what DPA has done in this case. DPA transformed the wishy-washy directionless petty crime investigation into a murder investigation with a worldwide interest and attention. If the police were to be fair, they would give DPA a medal. But instead, they turned around and made me and DPA the enemy. That forced me to the conclusion that they must be working for David, even if they don’t realize that.
I waited patiently and I was friendly and nice to them. Monday came and went, and nothing happened. Then I was told that exhumation would happen on Tuesday and that I was to be there. Again, I came and waited till evening and again there was no exhumation. They said okay, that I should come back on Wednesday in order to be interviewed by the Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP). (From exhumation to an interview). Again, I obliged.
By Wednesday morning, I was running out of patience and I was beginning to doubt what they were telling me. So, I made that post and said I was no longer going to play this game with them, that I was going to return to my approach of independent work within my group, DPA. That was the purpose of my post. And I stated my honest feeling – that there remains a state of mutual suspicion between us and the police.
While we were waiting to go from the anti-kidnapping unit to meet the DCP, one lady who claimed to have been Charity’s friends and one of those women in FIN mysteriously showed up. I knew this lady because right from the moment I got involved in this case, this lady got in touch with me. She called me on the phone in the US and tried to redirect my investigation. Strangely, this woman tried to get me to fault Chacha. She suggested that Chacha went into hinding in order to derail her daughter’s wedding. She also suggested that Chacha might be mentally challenged, which were all factors I already took into consideration. This lady also tried to suggest to me that David Aiyedogbon was a nice guy. It was never clear what role exactly this lady was intent on playing. Anyway, this lady showed up at police station yesterday. She recognized me immediately. She told me in the hearing of everybody that my post yesterday morning was too sensational. She made it sound as if I was unduly dramatising this case or taking advantage of the social media unduly. This is actually the feeling of the police that led to my detention. I was totally disappointed with this lady. I dismissed this lady there and then. I never saw her again.
Then I was taken to the office of the DCP for the supposed meeting and interview. No more about exhumation. David Aiyedogbon and his lawyers were also there. I deliberately sat on chair facing the door. As we sat there waiting for the big man, I closed my eyes and pretended to dozing off. However from the conner of my eyes I could see somebody point me out to one tall police detective. After about 5 minutes, the tall detective came and tapped on my hand and asked if I was Emeka Ugwuonye. I said yes. He told me to follow him. I asked why and who the hell he was. He told me he was a police officer and that there was another petition against me and that I was to follow him. My lawyer, Victor Ezema, who was with me followed us. That was how the supposed interview with the DCP ended.
I was taken into one noisy room filled with plainclothes to make a statement. They showed me a petition written by David’s lawyers, the same law firm that had demanded apology from me on behalf of David. That law firm appears to be just a criminal outfit – you know the typical rogue lawyers fixing ungodly deals. We shall talk about them later. Remember that law firm wrote me a letter suggesting they would sue me for defamation, only to turn around and use the Nigerian police to achieve the purpose. I understood that the police were now in the mode of prosecuting me for defaming David.
I refused to make any statement. The officer threatened to detain me if i refused to make a statement on the spot. My lawyer, the brave young lawyer that works for ECULAW, Victor, protested and they pushed him out of the place. I smiled and accepted to write a statement. I smiled because I knew they would not cope with what I was to write. Before I started writing, the officers tried to do to me what they normally do to the little guys they arrest daily. They tried to tell me what to write. I wouldn’t have any of that. They insisted, unnecessarily, that I must introduce myself first and state where I schooled and my credentials and places I worked. I asked them if my statement was a resume. They said I should introduce myself.
I obliged them. So I wrote that I graduated from Harvard Law school around the same time President Obama did. I also stated that I was Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard University and that I was legal Counsel to the World Bank in Washington. Finally, I stated that I founded the DPA. Of course, as to their question why I said that David Aiyedogbon might have bought the police, I stated that they had proved that to be true by the fact that they arrested me twice at the behest of David while David I accused of murdering Chacha remained a free man.
Two remarkable things happened. The police officers did not include my 6-paged statement in the file they gave to the DCP. Rather they printed the post I made yesterday and quickly put it inside the file and handed it over to the DCP. So the DCP did not read that I am a graduate of Harvard Law School, and not the mad man or troublemaker they portrayed me as. So it was easy for the DCP to lock me up and throw away they key. The DCP did not understand the gravity of his action. He believed that everything ends in Nigeria where he could play God.
A second thing that happened was that I saw from where I sat when David’s lawyer went to a corner to discuss with the officer that processed me. (Not the IPO, who is a nice fellow) I believe David’s lawyer and the officer were discussing how to make sure I was detained. I also saw David’s lawyer give that officer an envelope. So, I saw an envelope was given to an officer for my detention. And it was done by a lawyer.
After I was taken to the cell, an instruction came to the cell that I be locked up in the worst cell filled by people accused of crimes such as armed robbery and kidnappers. In fact, they arrested yesterday about 12 men they said were kidnappers. I was matched into the cell with them. I was the 13th man lined up with the “kidnappers”. I learnt there was instruction for the inmates to beat me up. But they did not. Instead I became their lawyer. The inmates showed greater honor, dignity and discipline than was shown by the police. I will represent the inmates. When I was called out of the cell because they came to release me, I delayed for 5 minutes before leaving the cell because the inmates were writing their names on a piece of paper for me. I waited for them to finish writing their names.
When they called me out by 11pm, it crossed my mind that it could be time to assassinate me. They could take an inmate out like that and disappear him. We read and hear about such things. It could depend on how much David was willing to spend. But I was ready. So, I followed them. The inmates were happy and sad at the same time as they saw me leaving. The whole cell burst into a spontaneous excitement as they realized what was happening. The inmates yelled as I waived. “Barrister”, “the Barrister” was all I could hear from all the cells. I waived back and assured them we will come back for them until they are free too or until they have due process too.
Today, I’m going back to see them. I was told I would see the Police Commissioner. So, I’m ready. I’m also ready to go back to the cell. No wahala. That’s Nigerian policing in 21st century.
NOTE : I have nothing personal against anybody. I have nothing against the police. My best friends are police officers. The problem is just a nasty culture of bad policing which took years to build up. I hope you understand I have nothing against the police personally.