By Innocent Anaba
Abia State government has accused Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, of misinformation on the trial of a lawyer, Mr Emperor Ogbonna, over his issue with the state government, saying NBA was misinformed by the branch of the association.
Chief of Staff to Abia governor, Dr. Anthony Agbazuere, in a counter statement, yesterday, said Ogbonna was being prosecuted in court for cybercrime and not terrorism as allegedly claimed by NBA.
Agbazuere stated that the facts put forward by NBA, Aba branch, which NBA national relied on were “copiously false, erroneous and misleading.”
He said: “My attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by Kunle Edun, National Publicity Secretary of NBA with regard to one Emperor Ogbonna which has also been published in the media.
“As Chief of Staff to the governor, who was also mentioned in the press statement, I am compelled to put the records straight that the NBA press statement clearly confirmed that at least Ogbonna has accepted that he re-shared a post in his Facebook page that Governor Ikpeazu went to India and took an oath before a Hindu god to mortgage Abia State.
“He also made other posts on this. Governor Ikpeazu has never visited India all his life and as a law-abiding citizen, he took recourse to the law instead of self-help. The governor reported this case of cybercrime to the Police and the Police arrested Mr Ogbonna and charged him before the Federal High Court in Umuahia for cybercrime and not terrorism as the misinformation from NBA Aba opines.
“On April 28, 2020, the court granted Ogbonna bail and adjourned the matter to May 25, 2020, for hearing. This is the much involving the governor and we are ready to prosecute the case. No government official even attended court on the said April 28, 2020, what more entering the court premises for any arrest.
“I have asked questions and I understand that the said Emperor Ogbonna was now arrested because he had made other divisive and subversive comments on his Facebook page against the President and the Federal Republic of Nigeria referring to Nigeria as an Islamic Republic, among others.
“The NBA headquarters and the public can now see that NBA Aba carried their emotions too far and thus misinformed NBA headquarters, hence the unwarranted and manifestly embarrassing press statement. I know that the Nigerian Bar Association leadership will never support crime but I am nonetheless appalled that my NBA could hurriedly issue a press statement on an issue without hearing from the other side, not even a phone call to any official of the Abia State government. This is bad.”