Greetings His Excellency, President Muhammedu Buhari, GCFR. I write this open letter to you as a law-abiding citizen whose faith in the Nigeria law enforcement agents and judicial system has almost shattered hoping that you will use your good office to ensure that justice is served in my case. I herein stated my case inter alia:
1. That I write on behalf of Tagbo Royal Family Ukwulu in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra state and their subjects. My father, late HRH Igwe Timothy Chukwuka Tagbo (Eze Ukwu Ukwulu) was the first traditional ruler of Ukwulu Community and reigned for 41 year from 1974 to 2015. As deceased traditional ruler of Ukwulu, he was entitled to a certain customary burial rites called The Last Ofala Ceremony which must be performed before the ascendancy of a successor.
2. That Chief Peter Anaukwu Uyanwa who was the Onowu under the reign of Late Igwe T.C Tagbo assumed the traditional ruler of Ukwulu without the performance of this statutory Last Ofala. When this sacrilegious act and rape of Ukwulu custom was challenged in High Court of Anambra State, Awka, in suit A/525/2017, Uyanwa deposed to a fake invitation card under oath claiming that Last Ofala was performed before he became traditional ruler of Ukwulu. Uyanwa’s fraudulent coronation is causing serious security problems in Ukwulu till date.
3. That we petitioned the Commissioner of Police of Anambra state, who after investigation charged Peter Uyanwa and others to Magistrate Court, Ukpo in suit MCU/74c/2018 for Conspiracy, Forgery and Conducts likely to cause breach of peace in the community. However this charge was struck out on 4th, October 2018 by the presiding Magistrate based on a fake letter purporting to bear the directive of Anambra State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and signed by one Emma Osunkwor Esq. the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions for Honourable Attorney General of Anambra state. This is so because the AG of Anambra state has denied ever given such directive.
Note: Another similar criminal case instituted by some ukwulu indigenes against the said Igwe Peter Uyawa with suit no MCU/34C/2016 was discharged in the same court in similar circumstance on 11th of September 2018
4. That being frustrated and aggrieved by the discharge of the Defendants in Anambra state, we wrote a petition to Inspector General of Police for Justice. After investigation by Force Intelligence Bureau, the said Igwe Peter Uyanwa and others were again charged for Conspiracy, Perjury, and Conduct likely to breach peace in Abuja Federal High Court 6 presided over by Justice Okon Abang with charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/255/19. The police lawyer ACP Cosmos Anyanwu who filed the charges on 16th October, 2019 demanded that I should pay N5,000,000 (five million naira) to him for prosecution or in the alternative, collect N20,000,000 (twenty million naira) from the Defendants to settle out of court. When I declined his request, he threatened to withdraw the case in court whether I like it or not.
5. That eventually on 29/11/ 2019, after two pervious failed arraignments in court, ACP Cosmos Anyanwu moved a motion in court to withdraw the case having claimed it was premised on the directive of the IGP. The said motion was vehemently opposed by me as the nominal complainant and victim of the crimes committed by the Defendants. In the bench ruling, the judge declined to discharge and acquit the Defendants as prayed by their counsel Chief Ikenna Egbuna SAN, but rather adjourned the case. The judge also ordered that “the victim of the alleged crime is at liberty to brief counsel to take over the prosecution in, this matter.”
6. That on the 6/12/2019 being the next adjourned date, one Sani Bagudu, Senior State Counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice appeared for the prosecution based on my request dated 3/9/2019 to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to take over the prosecution from police. On the same day the said Sani Bagudu Esq. withdrew the pending application filed by the police to withdraw the charge and applied for bench warrant of arrest to bring the defendants to court. The judge declined the bench warrant till the next adjourned day, if the condition remains the same and adjourned to 16/12/2019 for the arraignment of the defendants without fail.
7. That from then, the prosecutor from Ministry of Justice never appeared in court. When I enquired the reason why they stopped coming to court, the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions told me in his office that it was because the Police refused to hand them over the case file and I don’t expect them to fight the Police over the issue. The DPP told me that the case had been handed back to the Police to continue with the prosecution and had written the court to that effect.
8. That when it became apparent that the prosecutors have abandoned the case to force the judge to strike it out for want of prosecution and in compliance to the bench ruling on 29/11/2019, I instructed my counsel Kenneth C. Ikonne & Associates to apply for a FIAT to prosecute on behalf of the HAGF at no expense whatsoever to his office as I undertook to bear the entire cost of prosecution. The request for a fiat dated 12th January, 2020 was never acted upon by the HAGF neither positively nor negatively which necessitated to an application for Order of Mandamus to compel the performance of a public duty. The aforesaid lawsuit FHC/ABJ/CS/331/2020 is also pending in Court 6 FHC, Abuja.
9. That the Defendants being dissatisfied by their inability to frustrate the trial judge to strike out the charge filed a notice of appeal in Appeal Court Abuja and also wrote a petition against Justice Okon Abang to the Chief Judge of Federal High Court to transfer the case to Awka division where they have enormous control.
Their request was acceded to and the case was transferred to Awka on the 6th of July, 2020 without the arraignment of the defendants in Abuja. Interestingly, this is the same court where the said Chief Peter Uyanwa was arraigned in July 2018 in Charge FHC/AWK/C/79/2018 between FRN Vs. Igwe Peter Anaukwu Uyanwa for perjury and forgery of People Democratic Party primary elections results sheets for Aniocha, Dunukofia and Njikoka Federal Constituency where he contested for a sit in National Assembly in 2014. He was remanded in Amawbia Prisons for days before meeting his bail conditions. The case has been withdrawn since in court by the Police.
The police lawyer CSP Joseph Nwadike Esq. who withdrew the case was mounting pressure on me to do same in my case and when I refused, he threatened my life. The threat was reported to Police Complaint Unit, with Ref no. CRU795219 but nothing came out of it.
10. That the charge number is now FHC/AWK/C/32/2020 pending in Court 1 presided by Honourable Gafai J. and on 13/8/2020, the Police filed an Amended Charge in Court to include Cybercrime offences which were deliberately removed from the charge and also expunged the name of one deceased defendant.
The Commissioner of Police, Legal/Prosecutions Section of Nigeria Police consequently sent an application dated 11th August, 2020 with reference number CB:3510/X/LEG/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.10/54 to the Assistant Registrar of the court in Awka to forward the case file to Port Harcourt division for a vacation judge to immediately arraign the Defendants in order to forestall further threat to my life and that of other witnesses. This application for immediate arraignment was in recognition by Police to the facts that several threats have been made to my life by HRH Igwe Peter Uyanwa and his agents.
Surprisingly after few days, in an indecent somersault the same Police brought an undated and unreferenced letter signed by one Ikechukwu V. Okoye Esq. and Stanley Nwodo Esq. to the court that the IGP has suddenly directed them to discontinue the charge based on the legal advice of Anambra state Attorney General to that effect. This purported letter to discontinue the criminal case went viral in the social media as the Defendants were celebrating their discharge even without going to court.
11. That the “legal advice” has been roundly denied by Honourable Attorney General of Anambra state, Dr. Obianuju Nworgu in the public through Orient Daily Newspaper of 9th September, 2020. The AG of Anambra state also in the same vein denied ever giving any directive in 2018 to discharge the Defendants from Magistrate Court, Ukpo. It was discovered that the discharge was fraudulently procured by the Defendants. Nothing has been done till date to bring the criminal perpetrators in Anambra state Ministry of Justice and their cohorts to justice.
12. That emboldened by the seeming protection by the Police and collusion with highly placed government officials in Ministry of Justice to absolve the Defendants from facing justice, they have intensified their threat to my life and family members. They banished me from coming to my hometown unless I withdraw the case in court. Thank God for the intervention of Governor Willie Obiano, who on 24/7/2020 suspended HRH Igwe Peter Uyanwa as the Traditional Ruler of Ukwulu for a period of one year to forestall impending communal crisis.
13. That I have suffered a lot of hardship in the course of the investigation of the matter from Anambra state to Abuja and in instituting the case in court, and would suffer more hardship if the case would be struck out for want of prosecution.
14. That I have made many efforts to see the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation because I believe he wouldn’t allow this rape of justice, but have been blocked off by his staff.
15. That the criminal case is coming up on 15th of October, 2020 and we have it on good authority that the Police is still bent on coming to court to withdraw the charge despite the fact that the Attorney General of Anambra state has expressly denied giving such advice to the Inspector General of Police to discontinue the charge.
16. That if this case is eventually terminated without allowing justice to prevail, it will not only damage our hopes in the ability of Nigerian institutions to dispense justice but also confirm that certain privileged individuals who committed crimes, openly boast that they can get away with it, can easily stop or bend the wheel of justice. Mr. President, this could be a recipe for serious crises in my community if justice is not served on the defendants.
17. Mr. President, this open letter is to draw your attention to this nefarious activities; its likely negative implication in my law-abiding community with full expectation that your kindly intervention in the matter will ensure that justice is allowed to run its due cause.
In conclusion this administration was hinged on the anvil of anti-corruption and eradication of impurity from public officers. This is another opportunity to fight the humongous systemic corruption going on with our law enforcement and judicial institutions which you swore to win. It is important to let you know that corruption is the only reason behind the aforementioned plots to withdraw and terminate the criminal case. If not for corruption, why is Igwe Peter Anaukwu Uyanwa and others not being prosecuted; are they above the law? Since the ministry of justice and police are hampered by their unwillingness to prosecute the defendants, why have they not given fiat to a private lawyer to prosecute the case at no expense to Government? We count on your swift and timely intervention to stop the imminent miscarriage of justice in this case.
God bless Your Excellency and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
FOR: EZEUKWU ROYAL FAMILY
PRINCE ENGR CHINEDU TAGBO (08096133853)