Harvard trained attorney and founder of Due Process Advocates, Emeka Ugwuonye says, self-styled Facebook vuvuzela, Azubuike Ihemeje, who conspired with three sisters identified as Emelogu’s to smear him and Due Process Advocates International, will be taught a tough lesson so that others will learn from it.
Azubuike, in what appeared to be a malicious campaign last week, made unfounded claims against Ugwuonye and DPA in a post he made on his Facebook page.
Eculaw News gathered that, despite repeated warnings to Azubuike Ihemeje to takedown his malicious post, he has refused to listen to the voice of reason.
However in a statement titled, “MY POSITION ON AZUBUIKE IHEMEJE’S DEFAMATORY AND FALSE LIGHT PUBLICATION AGAINST ME AND DPA”, Ugwuonye vowed to make an example with Azubuike, so that others who are in the ugly habit of launching malicious attacks against him and Due Process Advocates International will learn and desist from it.
The statement read in part, “On Saturday May, 2022, while hosting two members of DPA who had travelled far to see me, my staff drew my attention to a Facebook post made by one Mr. Azubuike Ihejeme, a self-described lawyer, based in Port Harcourt. In that publication, Ihemeje made false outlandish allegations against me and against my organization, The Due Process Advocates International Foundation (DPA).
“His allegations contained far-reaching conclusions – calling me and DPA fraudulent and criminal. Yet, he failed to state any facts to support his conclusions. For instance, he did not mention any person that either I or DPA had defrauded, how much less the occasion or circumstances in which we did so. He did not mention anything we had stolen or anybody we stole from. He did not mention anyone we have scammed or how we could have done so. He did insinuate that we had a dispute with someone that resulted in us blackmailing the person with some Embassy, but no name or fact was provided to back up his false claims.
“Ihejeme referred to my case against the Nigerian Bar Association, which is pending for a hearing and decision before the Supreme Court but he deliberately distorted and mischaracterized the facts, the law and the procedural history of that matter.
“Realizing how potentially damaging this false publication could be, I, within an hour of becoming aware of it, forwarded a letter to Ihemeje demanding that he retract that publication and tender apology. There is no doubt that Ihemeje received my letter because he responded to it with: “You are maad…” and said he would neither apologize nor take down the post.
“As this was going on, many DPA members contacted me via private messages all alarmed by Ihemeje’s post and demanding that I take steps against the post and Ihemeje. Also, within a short period after the post, hundreds of Ihemeje’s friends and many people with all manner of grievances against DPA or me were invited to the post and given opportunity to attack me and DPA with more defamatory statements and false light comments. Apparently, many of them were carefully mobilized around the post to attack me and DPA in a predetermined manner.
“The post made Ihemeje an instant celebrity and he liked the attention and admiration it won him. Fame is something Ihemeje has craved for some time, and this gave it to him. However, Ihemeje realized that his false publication could put him in big trouble with the law. So, by 9:00pm on Saturday, he called me on Facebook Messenger. In the conversation, he tried to explain. He admitted that his claims were false. He stated that a lady contacted him over some possibility that I could blackmail her by reporting her to an Embassy. He said he regretted that he did not get my version of the issue before making his post. He asked me to give him my version of the story so that he would post it. I was actually irritated by that and I told him. I would never submit to providing him any information just because he defamed me. It was indeed a blackmail – to lie against me and use that to get me to talk to him. I remember saying to him: “Who do you think you are? Do you think you can play God? You peddle lies against me and assume that it would be sufficient to force me to talk to you?” He promised me that he would not write about me again. I told him that I would be interested in talking with him only after he had retracted his post and published an apology. I ended the conversation.
“Minutes after that, in a separate incident, a person sent me a message on Facebook messenger asking for help, as people normally do. Concerned that the attack from Ihemeje would affect my ability to earn money and continue to help anyone, I turned the person down. I then screenshot my chat with that person and forwarded to Ihemeje with a message that he (Ihemeje) should help that person. Ihemeje replied to my message by saying: “Shebi I have apologized to you sir”. (Attached is a screenshot where he said that). Also, a lady known Nwobodo Selina Ugochi made a post on her wall giving Ihemeje an opportunity to retract his post. Again, Ihemeje comically suggested that he had apologized). Screen short of this post and Ihemeje’s comment are attached here).
“Close to midnight on Saturday, several hours after his post, Ihemeje made a second post and suggested in different ways that he had apologized to me for his malicious falsehood against me. It was clear, however, that he did not apologize. But above all, Ihemeje still did not take down his offensive false post. He enjoyed the limelight the post has given him. He got over a thousand comments on that post. Indeed, for Ihemeje, he finally achieved the fame he craved for, as he has become the director of all the hate toward DPA and Emeka Ugwuonye.
“It is clear that Ihemeje acted with malice in making his post. First, not only that his allegations were false, he knew them to be false and highly damaging. He knew before he made the publication that they were false. He deliberately calculated that making such allegation would offend me and would undermine DPA in irreparable manner, if I were to fail to seek redress, and he assumed that I would not seek redress. Ihemeje’s goal was to put down one organization and one man that he deeply envies but could not rival. DPA has made a huge impact in Nigeria as the foremost and fastest-growing justice intervention organization in Nigeria. We have had series of success in justice interventions. DPA is what Ihemeje would like to be when he grows up. To understand this, you should look at the activities of Ihemeje in the past one year. He has been trying to make a name by offering to help victims of the Ponzi schemes. He rages and pontificates against these schemes on his Facebook wall. He tries to mobilize victims of the schemes to come to him. However, Ihemeje does not have any known success in his imaginary wars against the Ponzi. Our research shows no single case in which Ihemeje has successfully intervened for a victim. Also, our research does not show that Ihemeje has the capacity to understand the Ponzi system or the ability to successfully execute any intervention in a Ponzi case. It must be frustrating for him. He needed a new way to be relevant or to appear to be doing something. Desperation for success and uncontrollable envy drove Ihemeje to spread dangerous lies against DPA and me and to lead a mob of haters against me.
“Ihemeje is responsible for every defamatory comment made by anyone on his post. Indeed, his post created the platform for series of further defamation. He is responsible for every falsehood written against me or DPA on his post. That is how the law sees that. To buttress this particular point, many people have reported to DPA (and are willing and ready to testify in court) that when they made comments on the post either challenging the allegations in it or defending me or DPA, Ihemeje took down their comment and blocked them. This shows you that Ihemeje is actually responsible for every comment on his post. He determines which comment stays and which comment is removed. He also determines who could comment and who could not. He shut out people who defended me and encouraged people who attacked me. It was a hatchet job by a crucifier.
“If there was any doubt as to what Ihemeje meant in his post, attention should be paid to his responses to comments on his post. He had several opportunities to clarify his intentions or what he meant to say in his post, but each time, he made it clear that he intended the plain meaning of the language of his post. To cross every t and dot every i, I placed a Messenger call today to Ihemeje. In the conversation that followed, I again demanded that he withdraw the defamatory post he made against me. He told me that he has a “policy” of retaining any defamatory post made by him. He indicated that he had published an apology, and that such was his way of retraction. In other words, Ihemeje retained the defamatory post on his wall. He did not even stop the comments. Thus, he continues to defame me even as we speak, even after he had admitted that his post was false. In the end, I was actually surprised to see the incredible extent to which Ihejeme underestimated me and failed to consider the legal consequences of his actions.
“We have determined that some people must be used to set an example. And this is the occasion. We now have all we need to proceed. DPA members are advised to rejoice amidst the unfortunate circumstances. We now have a perfect case, if any case can be described as perfect. The world will hear from us soon.