….defendant keeps mum
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on Monday dragged a human rights activist and Executive Director of the Due Process Advocates, Emeka Ugwuonye to a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja demanding N5.1 billion for allegedly defamatory publication.
One of the defamatory materials was said to have been widely published and circulated to third parties on the internet space on February 5, 2022, and continued till February 8 2022.
When contacted Ugwuonye told our correspondent to send SMS or WhatsApp because he was in the bank.
But as at the time of this report, he had yet to reply.
The plaintiff in his statement of claim filed by his law firm alleged that in view of the various allegations against the defendant, “it is highly probable that the defendant would adapt his close association with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as a spring board to further defraud other innocent and unsuspecting members of the public and followers of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
He said, “By reason of the foregoing, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu declined the defendant’s offer to be part of his legal team.”
According to him, following Kanu’s unwavering resolution in 2017 that the defendant would not be part of his legal team, Ugwuonye who is also the convener of the Movement for Peaceful Change,
allegedly commenced a sustained campaign of injurious calumny against him and the IPOB leader.
He said that on February 5, 2022 in a statement titled “Why the biggest problem Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB have had was the lawyer they used”, the defendant wrote in Facebook, ‘The evidence is damning. And without intending to preempt the outcome, there is 90 per cent chance that Ejiofor would be convicted.’
“With this case and the evidence the state has, Barrister Ejiofor has all along been a tool in the hand of the Nigerian Government. He has been at the mercy of the government. He would do anything to stay out of prison. And he has been doing his best to please the government, but his clients were not aware.”
Also on February 8, 2022, in a statement titled: ‘Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor is unfit to remain a lawyer to Nnamdi Kanu: He must withdraw immediately or be fired,” Ugwuonye had alleged that “Ejiofor was facing serious investigation for fraud and forgery by the EFCC.”
Among the reliefs sought by Ejiofor included the following:
“A declaration that the publications variously made by the defendant of and concerning the claimant, on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th of February, 2022, the particulars of which are contained in the statement of claim, are defamatory of the claimant.
“An order of the Honourable Court directing the defendant to forthwith publish a full retraction of the utterly libelous publications and an unqualified apology to the claimant in at least three national Newspapers with nationwide circulation, including PUNCH…
“An order of the Honourable Court directing the defendant to forthwith publish a written undertaking not to publish any similar or further libel of and concerning the claimant.
“A perpetual order of injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, associates, privies and/or proxies howsoever called, from publishing any similar or further libel of and concerning the claimant.
“The sum of N5,000,000,000:00 (Five Billion Naira Only) as general and exemplary damages.
“The sum of N100,000,000:00 (Hundred Million Naira Only) being the cost of this action.”
The case had yet to be assigned to a Judge.