It is one year that an Abuja-based business woman, Charity Aiyedgbon, was declared missing by her Facebook friends. Charity, popularly known as Chacha, is said to have gone missing since May 9, 2016 and family, friends and security agencies said to be working to unravel the mystery behind her sudden disappearance. Speculations on the possible whereabouts of the 44-year-old mother of four, also known as Deepdeal Chacha Dehammer, were rife.
First, a Lagos-based lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye, said he had overwhelming evidence that the missing Charity was dead, accusing her erstwhile husband, David Aiyedogbon, of having a hand in her disappearance, an allegation he posted on his Facebook group, The Due Process Advocates.
Reacting to Ugwuonye’s allegation, David Aiyedogbon washed his hands over the disappearance of the lady and wrote his accuser, through his lawyers, demanding an apology, failure which he would seek legal redress.
The letter, titled: “Defamation of the character of David Aiyedogbon; demand for apology,” signed by his lawyer, Obiora Illo of Ogbulafor Chambers, and made available to newsmen, expressly states: “It is our instruction to demand an unqualified apology from you to our client through our chambers for the defamatory publications you have made of and concerning our client.”
Also, addressing newsmen in Abuja, Mr. Aiyedogbon urged the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to investigate the allegation against him, describing it as “cruel, criminal and untrue”, stressing that his estranged wife Charity left their matrimonial home on May 28, 2014. He said since then, he had neither heard from her, nor had any dealings with her.
While the controversy lasted, a Civil Society Organisation, Coalition Against Crime, called on Idris to arrest Ugwuonye to explain his role in the disappearance of Charity Aiyedogbon. The National Coordinator of the group, Harrison Pepple, made the call, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, arguing that Mr. Ugwuonye had some questions to answer.
In a petition to the Inspector General of Police, the group quoted Mr. Ugwuonye as saying: “…Charity Aiyedogbon is said to have been missing since the 11th of May, 2016 and one Emeka Ugwuonye claims he has evidence that the woman is dead and was murdered. He also posted a photograph of a dead person, part of whose body was dismembered. How can Police be looking for a missing person and someone says he has a clue and he has not been invited or arrested?”
Following the intervention by the Civil Society Organisation, the Police eventually arrested Mr. Ugwuonye and later released him on bail, after questioning, while investigations continued.
Several developments aided Police investigations. First, those believed to be close to Chacha are quoted as saying that she went missing on May 9, 2016, but her lawyer, Barrister Nsikak Udoh, handling a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lokoja, Kogi State, on April 29, 2016 against 29 respondents, including her biological children and former husband, claimed she (Chacha) came to his house on May 18, 2016 (eight days after her purported disappearance) and one of his staff accompanied her to the Federal High Court to sign and depose to an affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion filed along with the case. How could someone who was declared missing on May 9 reappear on May 18 and then disappear again?
Today, it has been established that Chacha’s signature was forged as Udoh has recanted. He said he did not see Chacha as earlier claimed. He confessed to the Police that he forged Charity’s signature in an affidavit he filed in court. Apparently, Charity was not behind the filing of the suit, but her lawyer. He therefore lied on oath. Both himself and the Commissioner for Oaths in the Federal High Court, Abuja jurisdiction risk being prosecuted by the Police for forgery and perjury.
Another puzzle is that a corpse, said to have been dismembered beyond identification, was allegedly seen in Abuja on May 12 and Mr. Ugwuonye claimed it was Chacha’s body. Till date, who has identified the corpse as that of Chacha? Impeccable sources say a DNA test conducted on the body revealed otherwise. Children of the missing woman have also chorused on several platforms that their mother was NOT dead. They have also stated that the displayed corpse is not that of their mother. The missing woman also has siblings and parents who have been going about their normal businesses and have neither said their sister was missing, dead or joined in the search for her.
The missing Chacha has a case of forgery that is yet to be concluded. A suit instituted in a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT High Court 8) on March 14, 2016, with suit number CV/1231/16, between Messrs Chibuzor Ogugua and Chigozie Eme (plaintiffs) and Mrs. Charity Aiyedogbon (defendant), made eight prayers to the Court. The last prayer reads: “An order of the Honourable Court directing the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the sum of 200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira) as damages for the losses suffered on the ground of the unauthorized and fabricated Valuation Report by the defendant.”Could she have disappeared to frustrate the Suit or evade justice?”
In the last one year, a lot has happened. The law enforcement agencies and private investigators have worked very hard to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Mrs. Charity Aiyedogbon, aka Chacha Dehammer. Cases have been instituted and some already decided.
Some friends of Chacha, believed to have earlier raised the alarm recanted. They are said to be at war with Emeka Ugwuonye, who said he was briefed by same Chacha’s friends on the matter. They engaged in war of words on Facebook. One of them, Pamela Nwansoh, allegedly confronted Mr. Ugwuonye in a Police premises in Abuja over an obvious sense of disenchantment with his activities, alleging extortion of members of the public (in the name of looking for Chacha) using his Facebook Group, the Due Process Advocates. Ugwuonye had, via a post on the group, solicited financial contributions for his trip to Abuja to respond to Police invitation to explain himself over the case of the missing Chacha.
One of the ladies said to be involved in the search for Chacha, Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie, on July 14, 2016, also made a worrisome post on her Facebook wall, expressing disenchantment with Mr. Ugwuonye’s antics.
Also in a post on The Due Process Advocates on July 17, 2016, Ugwuonye attacked Viola Okolie, making spurious allegations. The post was titled: “How the search for Chacha took strange turns and her friends turn out not to be friends after all.” The drama continues.
But how did Emeka Ugwuonye get involved in this matter? Was he really in America when the incident happened, as he claimed? Available records suggest otherwise.
Barrister Ugwuonye claimed to have been in the United States of America as at the time of Chacha’s disappearance and only came into Nigeria in June 2016 after being briefed to handle the matter, but his call log betrayed him, showing that he was in Abuja on the May 10, 11 and 12, 2016, same time Chacha was said to have got missing. Information from private investigators and telecommunication service providers revealed that he made calls around Jabi area of Abuja up till midnight of May 10 and 11 and departed Abuja on May 12, 2016. When confronted by the Police in Abuja with evidence of his movement, he owned up.
Three key suspects earlier arrested by the Police in connection with Chacha’s disappearance were said to have been released at his instance. He claimed at the FCT Police Heagquarters they were his clients, but when brought face to face with Mr. Ugwuonye, they denied all his claims, saying they neither briefed him nor identified any corpse to him as that of Chacha.
As at today, Police sources reveal that Mr. Ugwuonye has not provided any evidence to substantiate his claims. The only person he claims showed and identified the corpse as that of missing Chacha (Jo) denied him.
Today, Chacha’s car has been recovered. Two of her handsets have also been recovered. Is it a coincidence that he (Ugwuonye) has been questioned more than thrice by the Police in Chacha’s case?
The first puzzle is solved, with the admission by one of Chacha’s lawyers, Barrister Nsikak Udo, that Chacha’s signature was forged. He admitted that he lied on oath and his fate shall be determined by the laws of the land soon.
Second, Chacha’s last Facebook post before she “went missing” shows that she sat on the passenger’s seat of her car. That was the last she posted on Facebook, using that particular User ID: Deepdealdehammer. The question of who drove the car may have also been addressed.
Her car has been recovered, following a tip-off by one of the suspects that were in Police custody, IK Ezeugo. IK never opened up until Police arrested one of Jekwu’s friends, who now gave the lead, indicating that he (IK) personally drove the vehicle to the place where it was parked. His (Ik’s) younger brother, identified as Paul Chukwujekwu Ezeugo (still at large) is believed to have been in custody of the vehicle. He (Chukwujekwu) is also believed to have driven the missing woman on that last trip. The car was found in Enugu State by the Police in the residence of one Uche, with its plate number and particulars already changed.
Again, Chacha’s two handsets have been recovered. One of them, a Nokia handset, is said to have been found with Chukwujekwu’s biological mother, Mrs. Ezeugo. The second handset (a Samsung phone) was recovered from one Augustine, who claimed that one Odinaka, Chukwujekwu’s friend and phone repairer, sold it to him for N25,000. The proceeds, according to Odinaka, were handed over to Chukwujekwu. Just like the vehicle, both handsets were found in Enugu. Chukwujekwu is still at large.
Why is it that almost all the persons arrested/suspected so far in connection with Chacha’s case are from Enugu State? Precisely, six suspects so far arrested in the case are from Enugu State. Emeka Ugwuonye is from Enugu and Chacha’s car and handsets were found in Enugu. Chacha’s maternal home is Enugu. In fact, Paul Chukwujekwu Ezeugo and the missing Chacha’s mother are both from Oba-Nsukka, in Enugu State.
Mr. Ugwuonye’s relationship with one of the prime suspects, Chukwujekwu Ezeugo, is suspicious and his call log points in the same direction. He is also suspected to have aided his escape, as, according to Police sources, the day he (Jekwu) was to be arrested, Ugwuonye personally called the Police, promising to produce him, only to revert 24 hours later, telling the Police that he had escaped.
Understanding how bad the matter was getting, Ugwuonye at a point announced his withdrawal from Chacha’s case, a move Police sources described as diversionary, since he is already a suspect in the case.
David Aiyedogbon fights back
Following his refusal to apologize, ex-husband of the missing woman, Mr. David Aiyedogbon, dragged Lagos-based lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye, to the Nigerian Bar Association over what he described as unprofessional publications against his person.
A letter dated August 22, 2016, titled: “Petition against Emeka Ugwuonye for Unprofessional Publications and False Allegations,” addressed to the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, urged the professional body to investigate the matter and invoke appropriate disciplinary actions against the lawyer. Till date, Mr. Ugwuonye has not responded to a query issued him by the NBA, following Aiyedogbon’s petition.
Also, for falsely accusing him of having a hand in the sudden disappearance of his estranged wife, Mr. Aiyedogbon instituted a defamation of character suit of N10 billion against Ugwuonye.
The suit, with number CV/2750/16, between David Aiyedogbon (Plaintiff) and Emeka Ugwuonye (Defendant) on defamation of character before Justice Peter Kekemeke of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 14, Apo, Abuja, also prayed that the defendant be ordered to pay the cost of the suit.
The plaintiff is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction “restraining the Defendant, his Agents, Privies, Associates or whosoever called” from making further defamatory publications against him and his family members. The matter is adjourned to May 18, 2017.
Sources also revealed that Mr. Aiyedogbon’s lawyer, Tony Ogbulafor, may have also filed a personal suit against Mr. Ugwuonye for wrongly accusing him of giving a bribe (in an envelope) to a policeman to detain him.
Police sources also reveal that while some persons have already been charged to Court (awaiting trial) for their roles in the disappearance of Charity Aiyedogbon, others that have questions to answer will also be charged soon, to explain their roles in the controversy.
Meanwhile, the suit purportedly filed by Chacha at the Federal High Court, Lokoja, wherein Barrister Nsikak Udoh represented her has been decided in favour of David Aiyedogbon.
One year after, Chacha’s case is getting more interesting. We await the explanation of those in possession of Chacha’s car and handsets on their roles, accomplices and her whereabouts.
While we wait patiently for the unfolding drama, the Police must realise that Nigerians and indeed the world are watching. They must address Nigerians now on the extent of their investigation.
Again, Police must expedite actions in charging suspects to court. Waiting endlessly on the matter does not help the course of justice.
One is still at a loss as to why the prime suspect in the matter, Jekwu, is yet to be declared wanted and why Charity Aiyedogbon has not been declared missing. The Police must clear the air now.
As the whereabouts of Charity Aiyedogbon remain unknown, I join millions of Nigerians to demand that Emeka Ugwuonye provides his “overwhelming evidence” regarding what happened to Chacha or get prosecuted for false information and criminal conspiracy.
. Ugorji writes from [email protected]