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Why the police wrongly charged me with murder ~ Ugwuonye

I did not want to write or speak about my cases against the police while the cases are still pending in court. But I am constantly aware of the questions from many who wanted to know how I ended up being charged with murder and armed robbery. I will offer a very simple and easy to understand explanation.

I accused the police of cover-up in a case under their investigation. The police tried to get me to back off that matter. I refused. I continued to accuse them of incompetence. The police did a number of things to intimidate me. They threatened me. They connived with some people in the Nigerian Bar to intimidate me. That did not work. So, on 6th July, 2018, the police invited me to a meeting at their Command Headquarters in Abuja. They were angry because I made a post on DPA suggesting they were incompetent. At that meeting they wanted me to apologize and to promise I would not make such publication again. I refused. The leader of the team meeting with me got very angry and began to shout at me. He shouted: “Why did you say the police are incompetent? Who are you to call us incompetent.” I replied: “You have just proved me right by the way you shout at me just because I am in your office. Which police force threatens and shouts at people”. He ordered me detained. I believe this was the point of no-return in my dealings with them.

I was detained at Abattoir. When I got at Abattoir, I witnessed things worse than cover-up and incompetence. The police were involved in things far more egregious. I was shocked. When I managed to get out of that initial detention, I tried to go public with what I discovered.

Basically, I accused the police of extrajudicial killings. They decided to retaliate by accusing me of murder. The difference is that, as a civilian, when you accuse the police of atrocities, you can only write about it in the media. But when the police accuse you of murder, even if as a joke or a retaliatory trade of accusations, the police have the power and opportunity to charge you to court with whatever they accuse you of.

So, you can imagine two people abusing each other. The first person accuses the other of doing something wrong, and the other, in anger, counter-accuses the first person of doing something wrong too. If this happens between two ordinary people, it will end there. But when the police are the ones counter-accusing you, they can go further and file charges against you to make their accusation look legitimate.

That was what happened to me. Of course, such a move has very profound implications for the country and its criminal justice system. As I have advised all of you, it is too early to comment in any details about my case. Some people have thrown a stone in the air. That stone has not landed. We don’t know yet on whose head it will land – whether on my head or on the head of someone else. But let the court have the final say. That is what every civilized person should do.

With this summary and metaphorical explanation, I urge all of you to be patient. Let us focus on our work and live the short life God has graciously given us. Make use of your time so that when you are gone, there will be something good you will be remembered by.

Happy Sunday to all of you.

 

Emeka Ugwuonye is the founder of Due Process Advocates

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