N10B DEFAMATION SUIT: UGWUONYE GOES INTO HIDING, EVADES SERVICE
There are strong indications that Lagos Lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye may have gone into hiding to evade Service of Court processes, following the institution of a 10 billion Naira defamation suit by ex-husband of missing Charity Aiyedogbon, David Aiyedogbon.
Impeccable sources conversant with the case revealed that a Court Bailiff, who travelled from Abuja to Lagos to serve him with the court papers spent three days searching for him, to no avail.
“The bailiff travelled to Lagos to serve him. He went to his office in Ikoyi and was told that he was not on seat. He went to his house and could not also serve him. While one of his staff claimed he travelled out of Lagos, another said he just went out. Unfortunately for him, another insider revealed that he was hiding in his room. Why is he evading service? No matter how long he runs, justice will catch up with him,” the source claimed.
Reacting to the situation, National Coordinator, Coalition against Crime, Harrison Pepple expressed disappointment with the Harvard-trained lawyer, insisting that he must answer to the laws of the land.
“This is really strange. Emeka Ugwuonye had claimed to have evidence that David Aiyedogbon killed his missing wife. We got involved, petitioned the Police to intervene. At the Police Headquarters, Ugwuonye could not produce any evidence, not even one, to substantiate his claims. Now, the matter is in Court. Since he could not provide any evidence to the Police, he has to prove his allegation in Court or face the consequences. He should also be made to explain what he knows about the whereabouts of the missing woman.”
Also adding his voice, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Kingsley Opeyemi described the conduct of Mr. Ugwuonye as irresponsible.
“I have been following this matter. This is not how a lawyer behaves. I learnt he is also facing the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association for unethical and unprofessional conducts. I am ashamed of him. The plaintiff’s lawyer should know what to do in this circumstance. They can seek the order of the Court for substituted Service.”
It would be recalled that David Aiyedogbon instituted a Ten Billion Naira (N10b) defamation suit against Mr. Emeka Ugwuonye for falsely accusing him of having a hand in the sudden disappearance of his estranged wife, Charity Aiyedogbon.
The Suit, with number CV/2750/16, between David Aiyedogbon (Plaintiff) and Emeka Ugwuonye (Defendant) on defamation of character, 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.
Investigations revealed that Mr. Ugwuonye is also facing another suit before the same Court as defendant.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, on Wednesday, dismissed a suit allegedly filed by the missing Charity Aiyedogbon, where she prayed the Court to, among other things, wind up a company, Charvid Nigeria Limited, which David Aiyedogbon has an interest.
The Court, presided over by Hon. Justice Phoebe Msuean Ayua held that the plaintiff has no ‘locus standi’ to make the prayers, since she (Charity Aiyedogbon) is not a “Director, Shareholder, Creditor or financial contributor” to the company.
The Court further held that she did not fulfil any of the requirements spelt out in Section 410 of the Company and Allied Matters Act and therefore not competent to call for the winding up of the company.
Prior to the determination of the suit, counsel to the plaintiff, Nsikak Udoh filed a motion, notifying the Court that he did not wish to continue with the matter, a move that was rebuffed by the Court. Experts say it was an abuse of Court process.
Police sources however disclose that the lawyer, Mr. Udoh is presently being investigated alongside two others for allegedly forging the Signature of missing Charity Aiyedogbon in two affidavits in support of the suit.
The source also confirmed that samples of the interred body earlier displayed by Mr. Ugwuonye have been taken for medical examination to confirm the DNA after exhumation, to ascertain the identity of the deceased.
The body was earlier displayed by Mr. Ugwuonye on Facebook as that of the missing woman, accusing the husband of murdering her.
Efforts to reach Mr. Ugwuonye for comments proved abortive, as calls to his mobile numbers were not answered.