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N1 billion Suit: Emeka Ugwuonye dares Keyamo, Lauretta Onochie

By News Express on 08/02/2016

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Lawyer and activist Emeka Ugwuonye last night dared his fellow activist lawyer Festus Keyamo and his client Lauretta Onochie over the one billion naira suit they have filed against him for alleged defamation.

Ugwuonye issued a statement on the issue shortly after News Express broke the story. The statement, from which News Express has edited out portions considered potentially libelous, reads:

“First, it came to me this afternoon by an inbox from a journalist friend of mine – that the woman known as Lauretta Onochie, who has been attacking me with all kinds of falsehood had commenced a lawsuit against me for my RESPONSE to her unjustified calumny. I also learnt that she is using Festus Keyamo as her lawyer against me in this civil lawsuit of defamation.

“Indeed, the report about this incident is deceptive and controversial even at a glance. They described Lauretta Onochie as “Buhari’s aide”. That is fraud. Lauretta Onochie is not an aide to the President. This description of her is just another attempt to launder the image of a nasty decadent criminal, who has paraded herself as a person integrity. She is neither.

“Second, I am eagerly waiting to be served with the court papers, if they filed any, though I am afraid they are just blowing hot air. Otherwise, when you sue a person, you serve him with the papers before going to the press. But here, they did the opposite – they went to the press and tried to win their phantom case before they could join issues with me. That leads me to assume that their purpose is just simply to advertise someone as an aide to the President, thereby putting certain facts on the ground, where none existed.

“About Festus Keyamo? I have described him as a crook. You may wonder why I would speak of another lawyer in such a derogatory term. You are right. I would not call a person a crook lightly. I would not call another lawyer a crook lightly. That lawyer has to be ten times a crook before I would call him a crook. So, I was not reckless in describing Keyamo as a crook. In fact, I am filing papers against him, independent of this suit, in which I am calling him a crook on official record, and in which I shall be seeking severe legal sanctions against him.

“To give you just a snippet of the kind of crook Keyamo is, you need to know that in my cases against the EFCC which have stalled for 5 years now, Keyamo is the prosecutor. He was paid 7 million naira by Mrs. Farida Waziri and Ambassador Adefuye to create the smokescreen with criminal indictments against me for something that happened in the US 7 years ago, and which the US authorities have determined were legitimate. Indeed, they actually filed 3 lawsuits against me. While the two in Abuja stalled, Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos High Court dismissed the one they filed in Lagos. The court dismissed it without hesitation in May 12, 2012. The judge dismissed that case because it had no merit. It was an abuse of the process of the court.

“One of the cases in Abuja could not go forward because Justice Suleiman Belgore did not want to touch it. It was patently an abuse and the judge didn’t want to be part of it. Also, the one before Justice Bello in Abuja stalled too because the judge did not want to touch such politically motivated sham called trial. These two cases stalled for 5 years. Even the EFCC stopped coming to court.

“I kept quiet and watched this whole sham to see what this country is really about. Recently, my criticism of government got quite tough. Keyamo and his friends dusted the cases and went to different judges. On 21st of January I appeared before one of the new judges. Keyamo came as the prosecutor.

“A few days before that day, Lauretta Onochie, presumed Madam and human trafficker, attacked me viciously, maliciously and falsely. She repeatedly called me a criminal. She created a platform and invited her friends to that platform and they attacked me with all manner of lies. Lauretta even assumed false names and used those false names to attack me on her platform. In her attacks, she accused me of being a Biafran agitator unhappy that Jonathan lost elections. She said that she was attacking me because I was critical of President Buhari in my New Year day broadcast. She threatened to keep me under her watch. That was bold, daring, and vicious, from a woman I did not know and never had any encounter with.

“I was stunned by her behaviour. I had to ask why. Why such an attack? I identified the people most likely to attack me like that. The obvious people were the Dubai Madams because of the serious damage I have done to their business. To check if Lauretta was a madam, I sent her pictures to some of the girls (victims of human trafficking and sex slavery) that I have been representing. I asked them if they knew this Lauretta. They came back with a positive identification. From that I believed that Lauretta was a Madam. I announced my findings in the context of her behaviour. In fact, I announced my findings in the context of a motive for her extraordinary attacks and hostility against me and my person.

“On the morning of January 20, I disclosed the motive for Lauretta’s attacks on me, pointing to a connection with my work against the Madams.

“Right from that moment, Keyamo began to feed false information about the EFCC case against me to Lauretta. Lauretta began to use such false information in her attacks on me. At that moment, Keyamo became partly responsible for the false attacks on me on Lauretta’s wall. Indeed, Lauretta commented on the outcome of the court hearing on January 21. She was not present in court. Who do you think told her about the court or what happened in court, which, of course, they maliciously distorted?

“The second case in Abuja was coming up on January 27, 2016. Keyamo informed Lauretta about the case. He told her lies about the case. She published those lies. Indeed, for the first time in 5 year, Festus Keyamo provided a reason for the EFCC demand that I declare my assets, which is why we are in court. We have always wondered why the EFCC would ask me to declare my assets in 2011. They never offered a reason. But that reason was finally offered through Lauretta Onochie’s post on 26th of January. Festus Keyamo was working with Lauretta Onochie. Festus Keyamo was corruptly abusing his position as a special prosecutor. Festus Keyamo exaggerated and distorted the facts of my case and made it sound as if I committed a heinous crime. He was milking a public position for private gain in a corrupt and unethical manner. Lauretta published that false stories supplied to her by Keyamo. They are total idiots to think they could eat their cake and have it.

“Festus Keyamo even invited Lauretta Onochie to the courtroom on January 27. She came into the court but could not identify me. Someone saw Lauretta sitting in the court texting messages to Festus Keyamo to identify me. Through the exchange of text messages inside the courthouse, Keyamo showed Lauretta where I was sitting so that she could accost me in the courtroom and take picture of me in court. She posted that picture. Keyamo was urging Lauretta to peddle nasty stories against me on her Facebook wall. You are prosecuting a person as state counsel, and you are also representing someone in your private capacity. What else could be more unethical than that? And you are using such conflicted positions to attack the person. You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand that Keyamo is engaged in corruption over my matter . . .

“Keyamo did the same thing in 2011. He was feeding false information about my case to Sahara Reporters in the most nasty conspiracy anybody would suffer. They did everything to destroy me, but failed.

“In any case, on that same day, Keyamo stood in court to prosecute the case. I moved for him to be disqualified as the prosecutor. It was a fierce argument. But he did not prevail. Indeed, Keyamo does not stand a chance with any intelligent lawyer. Just don’t let him lie and create false impressions of knowledgeability. The judge ordered that the matter be briefed. Keyamo’s conduct was such that I had to move to disqualify him as a prosecutor in my case. That matter is pending as I speak. He has not yet served me the papers the court directed him to serve me. Or maybe he is planning to lie that he served me.

“Now, let’s look at the law of this case, even though I have not been served. How can Lauretta or Keyamo accuse me of defamation? Can you not see that they have now exposed themselves to very intense scrutiny?

“By the way, I am happy that people should be suing me for defamation. It only means that I now have the ability to counter their lies against me in the media. Since 2010, all manner of idiots have been publishing lies against me. I felt so helpless because I had no avenue where I could tell my side of the story. That was how various online news platforms told extreme stories about me, which are all lies. They claimed I stole money. They claimed I was disbarred. They claimed I committed adultery. They claimed I have 10 wives. They made names lying about me. Things changed. I have avenues to tell my story. They could no longer lie about me without my ability to counter. So, they are now aware there is defamation law.

“I would rather be sued for defamation than be suing them for defamation. What if I was not able to counter Lauretta Onochie’s lies against me? What if she had had her way of slaughtering my reputation without consequence? Will Lauretta be in court today if I had not been able to communicate better? Now, I pray that this lawsuit is real and I will teach her a lesson. In the mean time, I will not stop my investigation on human trafficking. And I will soon be filing a lawsuit against her for human trafficking on behalf of my clients who are her victims.”

•Photo shows Emeka Ugwuonye, Esq.

Source News Express

Posted 08/02/2016 05:51:50 AM


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