By Destiny Ugorji
Eighteen (18) months after being served with court papers in a Ten Billion Naira defamation suit instituted by ex-husband of missing Abuja woman, Charity Aiyedogbon, Mr. David Aiyedogbon, disbarred Lagos lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye is yet to file his response to the suit, even as his trial continues.
Our Correspondent reports that Mr. Ugwuonye commenced cross examination of the plaintiff, Mr. Aiyedogbon, Wednesday, before a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja, even without filing any statement of defense before the Court.
Reinforcing his evidence on Wednesday, Mr. Aiyedogbon earlier presented an electronic evidence to support already submitted volumes of documentary evidence in support of his suit.
Responding to questions from Ugwuonye on the efforts he has made in searching for the missing woman, Aiyedogbon informed the Court that the Police is handling the investigation, adding that four persons, including the defendant, Ugwuonye, are already being prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the sudden disappearance of the woman.
“So far, a lot has been done. We reported the matter to the Police and Police investigations led to the arrest and charging to court of four people, including you, Emeka Ugwuonye, for being complicit in the matter. By my efforts, the Police conducted a DNA test on the lifeless dismembered body you earlier posted on Facebook and identified as that of Charity. Police investigations led to the recovery of the missing Charity’s car and two handsets in your home state, Enugu. Even this suit, wherein you are a defendant is part of my efforts to look for Charity. I brought you to this Court to enable you produce the overwhelming evidence you claim you have; you said severally that Charity is dead, alleging that you have an overwhelming evidence that I killed her; and whether the defense of justification will avail you. I want you to present your overwhelming evidence before this Court. Emeka, after collecting money from members of the public, you have not taken any step in looking for Charity. I want you to tell this Court even one thing you have done in looking for Charity. You have not made any effort in this regard. Emeka, you have never reported this matter to the Police. You also have not presented your overwhelming evidence anywhere, not even to the Police. You only reported it on Facebook. The only thing you have done is to attack David Aiyegbodon.”
While the cross examination was going on, the presiding Judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke cautioned Mr. Ugwuonye, stating that all the questions he raised were not relevant to the matter before the court.
After over two hours of questions and answers, the Judge reiterated that all the respondent’s questions were not relevant to the defamation suit before the Court. He however adjourned the matter to 28th of June, 2018, for continuation of the cross examination, while advising the respondent to prepare to ask questions that are relevant to the issues before the court.
It would be recalled that Mr. David Aiyedogbon approached the Court to seek redress following the alleged refusal of Ugwuonye to desist from posting materials he considered defamatory on his Facebook group, The Due Process Advocates. He also wrote Mr. Ugwuonye through his lawyers, demanding an apology and retraction, but he refused to listen, prompting Mr. Aiyedogbon to approach the court to seek redress.
Ugwuonye had falsely accused Mr. Aiyedogbon of having a hand in the sudden disappearance of his estranged wife, Charity Aiyedogbon; an unsubstantiated claim that compelled Mr. Aiyedogbon to institute the N10b suit against him.
In addition to the Ten Billion Naira damages, the Suit, with number CV/2750/16, between David Aiyedogbon (Plaintiff) and Emeka Ugwuonye (Defendant) on defamation of character, before Justice Peter Kekemeke of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 14, Apo, Abuja; also prays that the defendant be ordered to pay for the cost of the litigation.
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.
Mr. Ugwuonye is accused of posting severally on The Due Process Advocates (DPA), a Facebook group, claiming to have evidence of the involvement of the missing Charity Aiyedogbon’s ex-husband, David Aiyedogbon in her sudden disappearance.