By Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha
This world is full of wickedness and wicked people. This wickedness in
man has made so many unprivileged people to undergo various levels of
torture, high-handedness and unfounded accusations in the hands of the
so-called privileged people.
For me I will continue to fight injustice and corruption whenever and
wherever I see them. My nature as a socio-political crusader does not
allow me to keep quiet when things are going wrong continuously in my
environment. Citizen Emeka Udofia should not be hanged. The so called
offence he allegedly committed was like giving a dog a bad name in
order to hang it. The question now is: Who is Citizen Emeka Udofia?
What offence did he commit?
It was in the early morning hours of 10th May 2011 when I received a
call on my phone. I picked the call and the caller congratulated me
for winning the Governorship election in Imo State. I inquired to know
who was calling. He introduced himself as my fan and supporter in my
fight against injustice, corruption,fraud and evilcratic leadership in
Imo State. He also pleaded with me to “extend” the congratulations to
Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Of course I told him that I am not Okorocha’s
image maker. For the records, I have received so many congratulatory
messages from so many people on the democratic overthrow of Mr Ikedi
Ohakim. People based their reasons for thanking me on the fact that I
exposed Ikedi Ohakim for who he was in office and that I paid the
price of shedding my blood for the people of Imo State in the office
of the governor at gun point. The reading public should bear with me
for this little digress.
Still on citizen Emeka Udofia………. In the afternoon of that same 10th
of May 2011, that same telephone number called me and the caller
introduced himself again. That was how the story of the travails
Citizen Emeka Udofia was narrated to me. Because of the nature of the
story, I picked interest and investigated it and confirmed the story
to be true. I also visited Citizen Emeka Udofia at PortHarcourt
prisons where he is
”patiently” waiting for the hang man’s rope. I equally invited his
poor mother to my residence in Owerri on the 3rd of June 2011 for
further clarification of issues. I will therefore share this tearful
story of the travails of Citizen Emeka Udofia with the reading public.
I expect reactions. I also expect those in positions of Authority to
quickly save the poor boy’s life by releasing him immediately; pay him
adequate compensation for illegally incarcerating him for 12½ years.
Citizen Emeka Udofia was a MINOR as at the time of his incarceration
in 1999. I also expect commensurate punishment to be given to his
IN THE BEGINNING: Citizen Emeka Udofia finished his primary school at
Ikot-Ekpene in Akwa-Ibom State in 1996 at the age of 12years. But
because of poverty and lack of funds to go further in Education, his
parents asked him to learn mechanic and driving as a profession. His
mother is from Nkwerre in Imo State while his father is from
Ikot-Ekpene in Akwa-Ibom State. Within this period, his mother Madam
Evelyn Udofia returned to Nkwerre in Imo State to take care of an old
mother who was seriously sick then, six months later Citizen Emeka
Udofia visited his maternal home Nkwerre to see his mother and his
sick old grand mother. He visited his maternal home in the fourth week
of January 1999 along with his elder sister, Chinyere Idonesit
Within the period he visited his maternal home Nkwerre, Citizen Emeka
Udofia engaged himself in “small-small” menial jobs of a labourer in
UKWUINYI village also in Nkwerre, at the construction site of an
on-going family building belonging to the well known family of
Anyiam-Osigwe-Anyiam. Unfortunately, Citizen Emeka had “a little
children” mis-understanding with one master Okechukwu
Anyiam-Osigwe-Anyiam who is a member of the Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe
THE REAL STORY BEGINS: The travails of Citizen Emeka Udofia started on
the 1st of March 1999 when armed robbers allegedly invaded the
premises of Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe in UKWUINYI village and robbed a
member of the family whose name was given as Mr. Chukwuma Anyiam
Osigwe of his money and other valuables and properties. The robbers
were said to have struck during a celebration in the compound.
According to information available to me from investigations conducted
in Nkwerre, Port Harcourt Prisons and also from facts obtained from
Citizen Emeka’s mother (Madam Evelyn, few days after the robbery
incident, some policemen started picking labourers especially youths
who were always going to Anyiam Osigwe’s family in search of menial
jobs, as there were constructions going on in that family compound
then. Citizen Emeka happened to be one of the youths who were going
there in search of menial jobs. According to what Citizen Emeka told
me, “I was in my grand mother’s house when the alleged robbery took
place. I was not among the robbers and I am not a robber”. The mother,
Madam Evelyn Udofia told me that “Emeka my son was sleeping in the
house when some policemen came looking for him, alleging that he was
among the boys that came to rob in Anyiam Osigwe’s compound four days
ago”. Madam Evelyn continued “About 50 youths from Nkwerre community
were arrested in connection with the robbery incident”.
However over 80% of these youths were released when their parents paid
the sum of N50,000 each to the Police. Some of the youths who were
arrested in March 1999 include the following (1) Sunday Uzoukwu (2)
Ikechukwu Nwosu (3) Ehima Obi Uzoma (4) Onyebuchi Nwosu (5)
Ugochukwu Chigbu (6) Ikechukwu Nwosu (7) Twin brother, Peter and Paul
Umelo. Peter later died in prison custody. Out of the 50 youths, 8 of
them whose parents could not pay N50,000 bribe each as demanded by the
police were charged with robbery. Some of them were said to be
under-aged including Emeka Udofia. But before they were charged for
robbery, the police purposely and intentionally delayed the trial for
them to reach adult age which is 18years. The youths were charged to
court in 2001 at Nkwerre High Court. Again, no exhibits were found on
the youths. Emeka in particular. According to Madam Evelyn Udofia,
she said that “Because of the mis-understanding my son Emeka had with
master Okechukwu Anyiam Osigwe few days before the robbery, they
implicated my son. Infact the said master Okechukwu Anyiam Osigwe
vowed to implicate my son in the robbery incident”. Madam Evelyn
Udofia continued “ Okechukwu actually brought the policemen to my
house and pointed at Emeka my son to be among the robbers”. Further
investigations showed that Emeka was not the only one in the family
arrested by the police in connection with robbery incident.
His elder Sister, Chinyere Idonesit Udofia was also arrested and
detained for about 7 weeks before she was released. There were no
charges against her. Chinyere’s offence was that she challenged and
confronted master Okechukwu Anyian – Osigwe who implicated her
brother. Her release from the police was not easy for her mother
(Madam Evelyn Udofia). She sold her domestic animals, freezer and even
borrowed money which the police collected from her before her daughter
was released after spending about 7 weeks in police detention.
When it became obvious to the police that the remaining 8 youths could
not afford the N50,000 each which they (police) demanded before the
youth would be released, the police allegedly wrote statements and
forced the youths to sign it. It should be noted that one of the
youths (Ikechukwu Nwosu) who was said to be 14 years old at the time
of his arrest and in primary school (primary 4) when the robbery
occurred was said to have confessed upon release (freed) from court
that Police wrote the statement and included Emeka Udofia’s name and
thereafter pointed a gun on his (Ikechukwu’s) head while in handcuff
and asked him to sign. He said that they never read to him what they
wrote before they forced him to sign. Ikechukwu Nwosu was later
discharged by the court after spending 11 years in prison custody.
Other discharged persons are (1) Paul Umelo (the twin brother of late
Peter) and Sunday Uzoukwu. I am therefore tempted to argue that Paul
Umelo was discharged to compensate the family for the dead Peter. The
Umelo family refused to go and carry late Peter’s corpse. I was
reliably informed that in the charge sheet number HON. 2C/2001 which
started in the High Court of Nkwerre, the following names were
mentioned as witnesses to the robbery incident. They are as follows
(1) Inspector Adamu of state CID Owerri (2) Sergeant A. Okon of state
CID Owerri (3) Mr. Anthony Anyiam – Osigwe of Ukwuinyi village Nkwerre
(4) Mr. Charles Anyiam – Osigwe (5) Mr. E.O. Anyiam Osigwe (6) Miss
Peace Anyiam – Osigwe (7) Mr. Chukwuma Anyiam – Osigwe (8) Mr Emmanuel
Anyiam – Osigwe (9) Mrs. Ijeoma Anyiam – Osigwe (10) Mr. Samuel Utoh
(11) Mrs. Josephine Obanue (12) Miss Maria Ogbula and (13) Mr. Stephen
Nneji (Assistant Superintendent of police) attached to Nkwerre Police
It should be noted that inspector Adamu was said to have lost interest
in the case and even refused to come to court as a witness because of
his personal conviction that the youths were innocent of the charges
against them. It was also gathered that apart from Sergeant Okon,
other witnesses stopped coming to court. Only Sergeant A. Okon
continued to come to court. Again it should be noted that this same
Sergeant A. Okon it was who demanded the sum of N50,000 from Madam
Evelyn Udofia for the release of Emeka Udofia. Therefore it is very
easy and simple for me to conclude that because of the inability of
Madam Evelyn Udofia to bribe Sergeant A. Okon with the sum of N50,000
that made him to charge the youths including Emeka Udofia to court in
conspiracy with the Anyiam – Osigwe family. This was after Sergeant A.
Okon allegedly tortured the youths especially Emeka Udofia to a point
that he was crippled for about 9 months. O yes, Citizen Emeka was
crippled for about 9 months a result of severe torture he suffered in
the hands of police as represented by the so called Sergeant A. Okon.
At this point, let me also point out that the state counsel to the
matter while it lasted in the court is the infamous Mr. C.N. Akobundu.
They story of Mr. C.N. Akobundu is for another day.
The case was later transferred from Nkwerre High Court to Owerri High
Court. At this point also, it in necessary to explain that the matter
was brought to Owerri High Court 4 presided over by Justice Pascal
Nnadi because the Honourable Judge is a very close relation of the
Anyiam Osigwe Anyiam family.
Therefore it is assumed that the judgment (death sentence by hanging)
of Justice Pascal Nnadi of the High Court 4 in Owerri on the 25th of
February 2010 against citizen Emeka Udofia and three others did not
pass through genuine judicial scrutiny and did not shock watchers of
justice in Imo State.
When Citizen Emeka Udofia was sentenced to death by handing, the boy
(Okechukwu Anyiam- Osigwe) who led policemen to Emeka’s house to
arrest him then realized the consequences of his action. He visited
Emeka in prison to beg for forgiveness. Meanwhile the saying which
goes like this, “He who sows injustice reaps calamity” has since
played out for Okechukwu Anyiam Osigwe. Nemesis has already descended
on him as he is now a mad man in Nkwerre Local Government Area. He his
totally insane now. He moves about in Nkwerre stark naked
The battle to save the life of Emeka Udofia has been on since Justice
Pascal Nnadi of High Court 4 sentenced him to death by hanging. His
lawyer, Barrister Idimogo Nwosu has gone on Appeal. It should be noted
that Barrister Nwosu on compassionate grounds has represented Emeka
Udofia in Court for the 11years the case lasted free of charge. The
Human Rights Community in Nigeria is also involved in the battle to
save the life of Emeka Udofia. Infact a Lagos based Human Rights
Vanguard wrote letters to some stakeholders, complaining bitterly
about the high-handed and ruthless judgment of Justice Pascal Nnadi.
The letter dated 20th March 2010 was forwarded to the former governor
of Imo State, former member representing Nkwerre/ Isu/Njaba/Nwangele
Federal constituency, the Traditional Ruler of Nkwerre, former member
representing Nkwerre state constituency and the National Judicial
Council (N.J.C). Other people who were copied are the former senator
representing Orlu zone, the former Commissioner for Justice in Imo
State, Amnesty International,among others. Infact the Amnesty
international visited Emeka Udofia and the three minors at the Port
Harcourt Prisons sometime in 2010 to see the minors for themselves.
Also DAILY SUN Newspapers on compassionate grounds joined in the
social crusade work to save the life of Emeka Udofia and the other
three minors. Daily Sun published the story of Emeka Udofia in two of
their editions – Thursday 11th March 2010 page 27 and Thursday 29th
Having come this far, it is therefore absolutely very pertinent for me
to ask the following questions.
(1) What is the relationship between Justice Pascal Nnadi and the
Anyiam – Osigwe family?
(2) Is Emeka Udofia a victim of abject poverty because of his mothers
inability to pay Sergeant A. Okon the sum of N50,000?
(3) Was Emeka Udofia a minor as at the time of the so called crime was
(4) Why was the matter transferred from where it originated—-
Nkwerre High to Owerri High Court?
(5) Why did Justice Pascal Nnadi condemn Emeka Udofia and three others
to death by hanging but released Master Ikechukwu Nwosu?
(6) Out of 13 witnesses, why did only Sergeant A. Okon continued to
testify in court?
(7) Can a 15 year old Emeka Udofia carry pump action gun to rob?
CONCLUSION :- It is on this note that I am calling on President
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Owelle Rochas Anayochukwu Ethelberth
Okorocha to order the review of the case on compassionate grounds.
This will help to bring Judicial sanity to the system. It is my belief
that pure and untainted justice should be established in this matter.
If it is discovered that Citizen Emeka Udofia is innocent (which he
is), he should be released immediately, adequate compensation be paid
to him for his unlawful incarceration for over 121/2 years. Also I
demand that Justice Pascal Nnadi should be investigated by the
National Judicial Council (NJC) while Sergeant A. Okon should be
investigated by the Force Headquarters and the Police Service
Justice delayed is surely justice denied.
Citizen Emeka Udofia must NOT die.
I rest my pen.
Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha
Plot 98 Ikenegbu Layout Extension
Owerri – Imo State, Nigeria