A lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Eric Chukwuemeka Igweokolo, has cried to the Lagos State, Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), over alleged involvement of some judicial officers in sharp practices and manipulations of court’s records in connivance with police to witch-hunt innocent citizens.
The lawyer stated that the trend has become worrisome and needed urgent intervention of the Attorney General of the state to address the issue. Igweokolo in a petition dated February 24, and addressed to the Mr. Onigbanjo (SAN), narrated how he became a victim of injustice being meted out to innocent citizens by corrupt police officers with the aid of some judicial officers.
Igweokolo gave details of how a civil matter that had been resolved in favour of his client at the state High Court on different occasions and currently pending before the Court of Appeal, was twisted by the police in collaboration with some judicial officers to file charge against him.
In the petition, Igweokolo stated that in 2005, he was briefed by Chinedu Onwumelu, over a four bedroom bungalow he bought from Azubuike Ekwerekwu, for N5 million, but due to foot dragging in executing the Deed of Assignment for the transaction it became a subject of litigation before Justice Opeyemi Oke, in a suit no ID/769/2005.
He said the suit was later reassigned to Justice Mojisola Dada, who ordered Ekwerekwu to refund his client, Onwumelu, the sum of N5 millions. The sum being what he allegedly paid for purchase of the property, with 21percent interest from 2003 to the date when the judgment was delivered and five percent interest thereafter, until the judgment debt is liquidated.
Not satisfied with Justice Dada’s final verdict, Ekwerekwu approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment. While the appeal is still pending, the judgment debtor (Ekwerekwu) filed a new suit (No. ID/2168/2009), on same subject matter. But with alternative claims and the petitioner (Igweokolo), was joined as respondent alongside his client.
In the new suit, Ekwerekwu prayed the court to order Onwumelu and Igweokolo to refund sum of N3 million he paid to them in respect of Justice Dada’s judgment. But after long litigation and involvement of National Judicial Council (NJC), the suit was dismissed. It was regarded as an abuse of court’s process.
Igweokolo also claimed that in the bid to frame him up for crime he did not commit , with legal backings, on December 31, 2009, the police purportedly obtained a warrant of arrest against him from Sabo, Yaba Magistrates’ Court. He noted that in the Warrant of Arrest, it was held that Ekwerekwu had on December 30, 2009, made complaint on oath that on October 15, 2009, he (Igweokolo) committed the crime and refused to honour police invitation on the matter which prompted police to seek for the warrant of arrest from the court.
The lawyer averred that he was later arrested on January 15, 2010, detained in State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti till January 18, 2010 before being arraigned at Ebute Metta Magistrates’ Court 7, on a four count charge of obtaining, N 3 million under false pretence from Ekwerekwu.
He asked why he was not arraigned at Sabo, Yaba Magistrates’ Court where the warrant of arrest was obtained against him, but at Ebute Metta Magistrates’ Court.