Regardless of if you like, or don't like Emeka Ugwuonye, there is no doubt that he quite a character. He looms larger than life and is quite affable. To his fans, he can do no wrong and is nothing less than a dark-hued messiah. To many others though he is not. They consider him a fraud and liar at least, and fraudster and felon at best. Sadly for him, the Nigeria Police Force seems to believe the second group more and Ugwuoyne is now in some serious trouble.
Trouble in America
To be honest, trouble for him started a long time ago in the US where he was disbarred in both the states of New York and Maryland where he ran afoul with the judiciary. He was found guilty of embezzling circa N545m which was a tax refund for the sale of a property owned by the FGN. He was supposed to get 3% of the sale but pocketed every last kobo. Then rather than actually show up for the case, which annoyed presiding Judge Rothenstein, he lost all his appeals citing various reasons as well as a final request for bankruptcy.
Ugwuoyne in better times
He relocated back to Nigeria where he would soon be again causing waves. This time though they were for the right reasons. Having established a thriving law firm ECU Associates, as well as a vibrant Facebook following of now just under 200,000 under the name Due Process Advocates he was perched on the pinnacle of success and seemingly the world was there for his taking.
Trouble in Nigeria
First of all, came the muting rumblings from within his fold at Due Process Advocates. All was not well. People were being unexplainably deleted from the Group for asking inappropriate questions, which included requesting accountability for the N6K 'membership fee'. But just like the mythical Phoenix who rises from the ashes to reinvent itself, so did the feisty lawyer who survived the fall-out and somehow went on to land himself the client of all times.
Just like Ugwuoyne, he too was constantly embroiled in controversy. His name was Nnamdi Kalu.
It is that moment that many people point to, and say that the deterioration in the relationship between Ugwuoyne and the NPF started there. Obviously, as the NPF harassed and micromanaged Kanu throughout his legal faceoff with the FGN Ugwuoyne was always in their face defending his client. So the two were almost always in direct confrontation.
Then Facebook user Ogechi Stella Njoku joined the fray and accused him of releasing her HIV status online after they fell apart due to money issues. She accused him of breaking the HIV anti-disclosure law, as well as the client confidentiality agreement and being ethically unsound. She also called him out as a fraud and misinterpreting the term 'pro bono'. This started a full-blown war of words between the Esquire and Linda Ikeji, who published Ms. Njoku's accusations.
Ogechi Stella Njoku
Ugwuonye on his way to court.
Ugwuonye seemingly also shook that off and now focused on the running of Due Process Advocates which had now grown to just under 300,000 members. This meant it had even more members than the NFF has registered fans. In football-crazy Nigeria, that's quite an accomplishment. Here Ugwuonye was presumably in his element and thrived, but another controversy was not far off.
The murky questions kept arising. If Due Process Advocates was an NGO why was it not registered? Secondly, if Ugwuonye had been disbarred, how come he could still give legal advice and then still charge for it? Then there came VEDUPA, a vocal group of circa two thousand men and women on Facebook who had come together to expose the alleged crimes of Emeka Ugwuonye. They have been a constant thorn in his side wagging their fingers non-stop. The Awareness believes there are behind a petition to get DPA pulled down from Facebook.
Enter Amanda Chisom a Facebook blogger who had also confronted Ugwuonye online and called him a fraud. Inexplicably rather than defend himself publicly he chose to visit her privately. Ms. Chisom would publicly accuse him of trying to have sex with her. Again rather than defend the motive for his personal visit, he claimed he was the one being stalked and even had the young ladies nude pictures to prove it. Till today he has not disclosed how he got the pictures nor have they been ever released or seen by a third party. It is obvious who in this case, was left with egg on their face.
And so the tit for tat game would continue and Ugwuonye would be content to play hero in one camp and villain in the other. In any case, he seemed satisfied to sit on the fence till the dust settled. This was not to be the case and had he had the proper foresight, he would have been busy building a bunker because of a nasty storm that would soon come his way.
Again it was of his own making.
From the pot into the fire
It all started when Charity Aiyedogbon a Nigerian businesswoman and co-owner of Chavid Limited went missing in May. The mother of four was last heard from on May the 11th when she posted on the Facebook group forum for Female in Nigeria, to which she belonged.
Despite a vigorous search by both local and Federal authorities she was not initially found. According to Ugwuonye, he was approached by the family to help locate the businesswoman and he complied by assuming the role of Sherlock Holmes and becoming a detective. Days later he would drop a bombshell! He claimed he had uncovered evidence that the woman had been murdered and that more than likely the murderer was David Aiyedogbon her estranged husband of 15 years. This was simply not true because on June the 15th the NPF captured the actual killers a Paul Ezeugo and Emmanuel Adogah. The former had briefly dated Mrs. Aiyedogbon and wanted to steal her car. In any case, Mr. Aiyedogbon has since filed a N10b defamation suit against Ugwuonye (CV/2750/16).
Charity Aiyedogbon (RIP)
But there is more. In addition to this unravelling incident, Ugwuonye also blasted the NPF for being inept and pointing out specifically that there was a rot in the Abattoir, a well-known detention centre in Abuja. His lack of transparency and refusal to provide his evidence irked many Nigerians including some of his own DPA members. In what one can only deem as a knee-jerk reaction Ugwuonye then released a video in which he not only claims to still be a lawyer but also goes on to repeat his earlier accusations.
Needless to say, the NPF was not amused.
Far from it, they were outright angry and the Commissioner threw the rule book at him. On June the 18th they slapped chains on him and deposited him in Kuje Prison. Ironically it is the very same prison he fought so hard to get Nnamdi Kanu released from.
The NPF was not mincing words and charged him with injurious falsehood, fabricating false evidence and impersonation. (CR/20/2018). They pointed out that "his actions were contrary to and punishable under Sections: 393, 342, 148, 158, 132 and 144 of the Penal Code." They also relayed that he fabricated false evidence of the name of a suspect in the detention of the police through videotaping and circulating the same with intent the to extort money from members of the public.” “The Nigeria Police Force also sees the video and publication as a desperate and deliberate attempt to incite members of the Public against the Force."
As if that was not enough after further investigation the NPF added a second case on November the 18th in which they charged Ephraim Chukeuemeka Ugwuonye and four others of criminal conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery and culpable homicide. As we know at least two of these infractions are punishable by death.