Uboh versus Emefiele: How police falsified video evidence in court
The case involving Dr. George Uboh, the chairman of George Uboh Whistleblower Network (GUWN), and the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele took a new turn on Wednesday as the defence counsel exposed the alleged fake video in court during the Trial Within Trial [TWT].
Recall that the whistleblower, Dr. Uboh accused the police of obtaining statement from him under duress.
The trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, therefore, ordered for a TWT to ascertain the veracity of the claim.
During the proceeding on Wednesday, the lead defence counsel, Mr. Idumodin Ogumu Esq. presented the first TWT witness.
The Defense Witness, a lawyer, Barrister Nicholas Eku narrated the circumstances of the arrest.
According to Barrister Eku , he was alerted by Uboh’s staff after the whistleblower was arrested and taken to Nigeria Police Force CID in Area 10 where he went and met him.
Upon arrival, he inquired the reason of the arrest and nobody seems to know, not even George Uboh himself.
Besides him, he said, about five or six other lawyers were present but were barred from witnessing the statement except him.
The Police officials then presented a petition written by one Usman Abubakar alleging that one Senator Ned Nwoko masterminded the death of someone.
Uboh was asked to comment on the statement but he declined, saying he knew nothing about the petition
Upon sensing that Uboh will be detained for refusing to make statement, he, Eku, convinced him otherwise.
He then made a statement in his presence and they immediately applied for bail and the conditions were stated.
The bail condition was met including the surety with record time but the senior officer, a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) was seen nowhere.
The DIG eventually appeared but refused to grant him bail after the lawyers had waited way till around 10pm and the lawyers, disappointed, left.
The TWT Defence witness was shown a copy of the statement purportedly made by George Uboh presented as exhibit by the police.
The defence counsel, Mr. Idumodin asked him to react to the statement.
He denied the statement outrightly, saying that it is not same statement made before him on 15th May, 2019.
He noted that the statement had 19th May date while the statement taken before him was on 15th May.
He insisted that the statement was wrong on several ramifications as he did not appear at the police outfit after 15th May.
“May 19 is a Sunday and I do not work on Sundays; I was in the Church,” he stated categorically.
He was then asked to comment on the perceived discrepancy alleged in the video footage shown in the courtroom.
Recall that police operatives had shown a video in the court claiming that Uboh made his statement on May 19, 2019, and voluntarily too.
“What is your reaction to the video footage?” Mr. Idumodin asked.
Everything was wrong with the video footage, he stated.
“The video was shot not on 19th as claimed by police but on 15th when he was in the police station,” he pointed out.
“The video showed a full page statement but the statement before him was not full paged,” he noted.
The statement made before him had no crossing as it was full page but the exhibit before him had crossing on it, he also observed.
Surprising, the statement made by Uboh before him in the case he attended to was about murder, not billions of dollars and Naira as contained in the given exhibit.
The Prosecution Counsel asked a few feeble questions but soon realised it was an effort in futility and closed up.
Few questions, though, stuck out like sore thumb as follows:
“How many times did Uboh make statement?” Once, was the reply.
“Were you there on 19th?” “No, I was in the church.”
“You don’t know what happened on 19th?” “No, I don’t. I wasn’t there.”
“You said video clip was recorded on 15th , not 19th. You don’t know when it was captured?’ “I know because I was captured in the video.”
“The statement shown to you, you don’t know if it was done voluntarily?” “No. I am not aware of it.”
“Apart from 15th, you don’t know what else transpired on 16, 17, 18 19th?” “No.”
“Did Uboh make the statement voluntarily?” “Yes, with respect to Ned Nwoko.”
“Was he harassed?” “Yes. He was harassed and intimidated because he was not released after perfection of bail but statement was made voluntarily.”
“Will I be correct to say he was not released because DIG was absent.” “Presumably,” was the answer.
Justice Halilu, who kept harping on why everyone need to live upright lives and speak the truth because all will appear before the judgment seat of Almighty God, adjourned the case to September 14.