Chief NBE Nwigwe is the counsel to Precious Donatus Ogbonna. He is the Chairman of Ethics and Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Owerri branch. He spoke to Saturday Vanguard in his Owerri office.
Why were you not there as her counsel and to see things for yourself?
I was not there for two to three reasons. First is that by my letter to both the Vanguard and the Police, including the court and NAPTIP, the EDD (Expected date of delivery) was supposed to be 21st of September. There is no guarantee that the woman would deliver on her EDD.
Number two is that having involved all the security agencies, and also Vanguard newspapers who had hitherto followed the story, it was better for me as counsel to be neutral and not be part of the process at the delivery point because I will therefore would have become an interested party who would do a lawyer’s job in the matter that comes back court and may become a witness instead of a counsel.
Who are those you invited to witness the birth because none of them was there?
I wrote the Commissioner of Police, the state CID, Owerri, NAPTIP, and Vanguard.
Did they acknowledge the letter?
I have received no acknowledgement but they were delivered by a lawyer in this office (his office) and through him, I spoke with the AC State CID on phone and he did not believe the story. But whether he sent people or not is what I don’t know.I am certain those letters were received. And they are not disputing they received the letter.
So, why do you think they refused to show up?
I can explain that very easily. That letter was written on Monday, dispatched the same day and the EDD was Wednesday 21st Vanguard. They were expected to be part of the delivery process because of their interest in the matter having been following it for a very long time. I am only venturing on what I think.
What do you think this new development would achieve especially on the case in court?
First of all, it is not a matter of the case in court. There are two aspects to this issue now. One is that if she had this baby without what we have done, she could still be arrested again given that gap between her last baby and this one.
It would have become a case of its own and she would be subjected to investigation, and the child would be subjected to similar ordeal. That is the first situation. On the matter in court, definitely, the obvious thing now is that it puts some doubt in the investigation earlier carried.
Anybody cannot easily now say, what we did before was correct. Like we said in our letter that I believe that the work of God is not subject to total investigation . That is how I look at it. For the investigating and prosecuting authorities, they know where to take the matter therefore. But obviously, we still have to ask few legal questions.
As her counsel and a defence lawyer, I’m working towards her being discharged and acquitted and also being vindicated.
It is also necessary at this point to add that in the light of this development, that in this life, there is no other person claiming maternity or paternity of those children and that her children be handed back to her. One of them is dead, let them leave her alone.
They are worsening the problem and ordeal of those children by leaving them in artificial and unnatural places. Between her and her church, they are capable of taking care of those children.
All that government should do is to monitor the development and growth of those children.