FRIENDS AND members of family of detained businessman, Emeka Okonrokwo are appealing to the Inspector General Of Police IGP, Mohammed Idris to call his men to order over their interferences in a civil case between their brother and one Kennedy Nwabuoku.
Detained Emeka Okonrokwo
According to them the police Officers from IGP Monitoring team have shown glaring partisan in the case by taking side against their brother who is now lying ill at the hospital as a result of torture from investigative Police officers.
According to the statement, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, IGP and Mr. Femi Falana, SAN have been mentioned as people interested in the case, while the said buyer of the land, Kennedy has been accused of threatening to deal with the Okonkwo.
A statement signed by Stanley Okonrokwo on behalf of the friends and family expressed surprise at the allegation of attempt to sell Lagos Lagoon levelled against their brother when available evidence and documents proved otherwise.
According to him the team of Kennedy has been dropping names of prominent Nigerians to intimidate Okonrokwo.
So far he claimed that the officers in-charge of the case at various times had claimed that they were acting on order from above.
The statement claimed that prominent Nigerians have been mentioned in the case just to legitimise treatment being meted out to their brother.
According to the statement, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, IGP and Mr. Femi Falana, SAN have been mentioned as people interested in the case, while the said buyer of the land (Lagos Lagoon) has been quoted at various times threatening to deal with the Okonrokwo.
Addressing the media earlier, members of Okonrokwo family said they are convinced that those mentioned in the case are too decent to be involved in this unholy act.
Uppermost in their minds is the state of health of Okonrokwo and continue psychological and physical torture by the investigating police officers.
Below is the statement signed by Stanley Okonrokwo:
For so long, Nigerians have been clamouring for an egalitarian society where the rule of law and justice define the state of affairs and every citizen’s fundamental human rights are protected.
However, it is still a worrisome specter of our national life that the more democracy we claim to practice, the more tyranny and oppression prevail in the land.
And when concerned law authorities and practitioners who should uphold the law and defend justice now become conspiratorial purveyors of impunity and oppression at the whim of any man with the means to settle them, there is cause for alarm.
Such is the pathetic case of Citizen Emeka Okoronkwo who is not only an ailing victim of vicious police brutality but also of a vile propaganda meant to paint him with the hue of a villain in a failed property transaction in which he is actually an innocent victim.
Now, our attention as concerned citizens has been drawn to several propaganda publications trending online and on social media titled: “Fraudsters allegedly sell Lagos Lagoon for N787.5 million.”
We have undertaken this response because our friend who is presently in police custody cannot be reached to tell his own story. Based on verifiable documents available to us, we hereby publish the full account of the case as below to ensure the General Public is properly appraised of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo is a seasoned Professional, a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer at Kings Court Realtors with over twenty years of unblemished successful professional practice.
He presently lies critically ill at the Falomo Police Hospital where he is taking treatment with an armed police guard in his room.
We have a copy of the Agreement for Accord and Satisfaction that was proposed and signed already by Mr. Okonrokwo in the presence of the Police IPOs, agreeing that the land in question be sold and the proceeds used to refund the part payment made by the Complainant, one Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku of KenBuok Global Investments Limited.
The refund was to be of money paid by Mr. Okoronkwo as a loan to the Mr. Nwabuoku for the purchase of land which title has been passed to him. The recital captures the tenor of the transaction.
It is instructive to note, that the Land in question is a Lagos State Government scheme and is covered by a Certificate of Occupancy. A land search was conducted by the law firms of both parties prior to its purchase to authenticate the documents and who the owners are. The C of O was found to be valid and the land unencumbered.
The land itself is described in the survey plan attached to the C of O which same survey plan was used as the description in the Deed of Assignment conveying all 150 plots to the purchaser by the owners of the land. Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku was handed the Original Certificate of Occupancy, along with the Deed of Assignment and a Power of Attorney, duly vesting the land in his company, his designated beneficiary.
The receipt for all of these documents was duly acknowledged by the Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku by email on receipt. The emails are available for verification.
It is worthy of note, that what was paid for by the Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku at the point where a title was conveyed to him and he received all the documents of the title was 100 plots, and what was contained in his title documents were 150 plots. What he paid was for 100 plots and what was contained in his conveyance document was 150 plots.
It was the understanding and was in writing that he would refund to Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo the balance of the 50 plots on receipt of the all the title documents.
Mr. Nwabuoku was and has been unable to effect the refund and has asked Mr. Okonrokwo for time to effect the refund, which he was still unable to do after 3 months. The refund to Mr.Okoronkwo of the balance sum paid on his behalf to the owners of the land remains owed and outstanding to date a debt Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku acknowledged in writing.
Mr. Nwabuoku, on subsequently visiting the land, asked Mr. Okoronkwo to sell the 50 plots the sum advanced on his behalf covers, as he was having difficulties raising more money from investors on that account. To execute this request, Mr. Okoronkwo explained that he would require Mr. Nwabuoku to convey the 50 plots to him as he was now the owner of the entire 150 plots with an attendant Power of Attorney.
Following the inability to raise further funding Mr. Nwabuoku appealed to Okoronkwo to find buyers for the 150 plots and the deposit payment he had advanced for the purchase be refunded to him. Mr. Okonrokwo then requested that he returns the title documents and the Deed of Assignment and Power of Attorney sent to him, to enable him to effect the sale. At this juncture Mr. Nwabuoku refused, insisting that Mr. Okoronkwo pays him first before he returns the Original Title documents and the Deeds of Assignment and Power of Attorney conveying all 150 plots to him.
Mr. Okoronkwo, sensing that Mr. Nwabuoku did not intend to refund his money or convey the 50 plots to him, and was intent on converting the funds advanced by him for the purchase as his own, wrote a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, asking the Commission to look into the transaction and have Mr. Nwabuoku refund his money.
Rather than respond to the invitation from EFCC, Mr. using his connection to the Presidency, wrote to the Inspector General of Police, alleging that he was defrauded by Mr. Okonrokwo as follows:
a. That the Title Document he was given was fake. This is false as the document is the original copy of a Lagos State Government C of O. A certified true copy is available at the Lands Registry at Alausa.
b. That the Deeds of Assignment contained fictitious names. This is again false, as the Deed of Assignment was of land covered by a C of O. The persons whose names appear on the C of O are also the same persons whose names appear on the Deed of Assignment which was duly executed by them.
c. That the documents received by him are incapable of conveying title to him, again false as Mr. Nwabuoku received the Original C of O, a Deed of Assignment and a Power of Attorney. What more would be required to vest title on Mr. Nwabuoku.
It is pertinent to note that when Mr. Okoronkwo first became aware of Mr. Nwabuoku’s petition to the Police, he on his own visited the authorities at Abuja and at his cost invited the Investigating officers to Lagos to visit the Land’s Registry at Alausa as well as the Land site. This they did. Sadly though, the understanding of the Police was that the Land Mr.Nwabuoku believed he was buying was not what was bought and therefore his complaint of fraud was well founded. This conclusion/thinking is indeed tragic given the clear provisions of the Land reform (Contracts) Law of Lagos State and the fact that at all times including in the initial offer of the Land to Mr. Nwabuoku, the land in question was described as 150 plots and more particularly described by the survey plan attached to the C of O. The law firm representing him conducted a chat prior to commencement of the transaction.
When it became obvious that Mr Nwabuoku was acting a script and did not intend to refund any money and to avoid any unpleasantness that Mr.Okoronkwo proposed to find another buyer for the land and to refund the money advanced by Mr. Nwabuoku. This would also enable him to obtain the refund of the 50 plots owed him by Mr.Nwabuoku. This was in the light of the several threats made to Mr.Okoronkwo by Mr. Nwabuoku to deal with him.
It is worthy of note that Mr.Okoronkwo who had honoured every invitation by the Police, was arrested in his lawyer’s office at a meeting convened by the Police to sign the Agreement for Accord and Satisfaction in the resolution of the issues indifference.
Mr. Okoronkwo having reviewed the Agreement clause by clause with the Police team of two, confirmed that he agreed to all the terms and that he voluntarily signed it and had his signature witnessed.
The Police collected all three copies for delivery to the complainant to sign. The annotation on the cover of the Agreement bears this out.
It was after the Police have collected all the originals and acknowledged receipt that they announced that they have instructions to take a surety for his bail.
Mr. Okoronkwo’s lawyer, thinking it was an honest desire to adhere to protocol, volunteered to stand as his surety, upon which the Policemen said it could only be done at a Police Station and that the Bar Beach Police Station was the closest. Mr. Okoronkwo in the company of his lawyer obliged.
At the station, his phones were forcefully taken from him and he was told he was under arrest and put behind the counter.
Mr. Okoronkwo did not at any time resist or quarrel with the Police. When the Station refused to take him into custody, for reasons best known to them, the Police asked that they go to Alagbon Close, to which Mr. Okoronkwo obliged, believing this was all a mistake and that once the superior officers knew the truth, they would call the IPOs to order.
That indeed was the beginning of Mr. Okoronkwo’s nightmare. He was, 30 minutes of arrival at Alagbon, clammed into a cell with instructions not to be allowed, visitors.
His lawyers protested and have reached out to high ranking members of the Police and government to complain about the serious affront on Mr. Okoronkwo’s liberties.
He was allowed mild access and on the 8th of November 2017, with only 30 minutes notice to his lawyers, was hurriedly brought before a magistrate at Igbosere Magistrate Court for a Remand Order.
Mr. Okoronkwo’s lawyer applied for bail under Section 264 of the same Law under which the remand order was sought. The Magistrate in a considered ruling stated that she had no powers to grant bail as there were no charges filed against Mr. Okoronkwo and that he had only be brought for an order of remand but however she would grant a remand order for 30 days.
This was so even though the fact that he was arrested without a warrant and that the transaction in question was wholly civil were brought to the attention of the court.
Mr. Okoronkwo was returned to Police custody at Alagbon at about 2 p.m. At about 4 p.m, while still in the cell, an officer came in, placed him on leg chains/stocks and took a photograph of him in the stocks. The stocks were perhaps too tight and caused his legs to swell terribly.
Words somehow got to his lawyers about this situation and they made frantic phone calls and sent out SMSs to persons who they felt were in the know in the matter and should call the Police officers behind the torture and humiliation of Mr. Okoronkwo to order.
It was promised that something would be done about it. The next day which was a Saturday, when the lawyers visited Mr. Okoronkwo at the Station, they were first denied access to him but when they called Femi Falana, SAN, Mr. Nwabuoku’s lawyer, he promised to call the police to remedy that.
The IPO joined his lawyers 10 minutes later and went to bring him from the cell.
Mr. Okoronkwo could barely walk and was very weak. He had lower abdominal pains and difficulties passing urine.
His lawyers interviewed him in the presence of the IPO and he informed them that his legs were chained at about 4 p.m and that the chains were only taken off at about 12 midnight when the other inmates raised an alarm that his feet had swollen terribly and that he was in excruciating pains.
Mr. Okoronkwo was rushed to the Police hospital on the 15th of November when he was found to be very weak and ill in the cell. His blood pressure had risen to 200/120. He was administered first aid and rushed to the hospital by the Police prosecutor in the company of the police doctor who administered life-saving first aid.
Though in a critical state, he was not moved to the hospital until after 3 hours, though his situation was dire as we were told that only his IPO could take him and the IPO was nowhere to be found.
Indeed, the IPO sent text messages around including to his lawyers, that he had been recalled to Abuja the previous day on an urgent assignment. This was subsequently found to be false. He was in Lagos all the while a fact that would never have been known by the authorities at Alagbon close had his lawyer not had a chance encounter with him at the Alagbon/Bell Avenue junction, as he was sighted sitting atop a motorbike (Okada).
Mr. Okoronkwo’s situation is still very dire. He had collapsed in the hospital on the night of the 15th of November, 2017 completely unaware of where he was. He had to be assisted in walking and had difficulty urinating. The doctors have battled to stabilise him but continues to need medical attention.
Mr. Okoronkwo continues to be denied bail by the Police authority despite the fact that this is a civil transaction and he is the victim.
He has an armed Policeman stationed in his room 24/7 and is confused as to what he has done to deserve this in a democracy where the rule of law is supposed to be operational and Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku’s lawyer is a leading human rights activist who has been kept fully abreast of the infraction of Mr. Okoronkwo’s liberties and the excesses of the Police in this matter.
Why the Police are interested in this matter and have deployed the huge resources it has on a clear civil matter when there are urgent national issues calling for attention, is bewildering.
The complicity of those who in times past, fought for the liberties of the oppressed and against the tyranny and the abuse of State Powers, is a cold reminder that principles are as transient and fleeting at times.
We are as guilty of those things we constantly call people to account for. Given the vicious deployment of State apparatus at the behest of one man intent on proving his connections at the very top, perhaps we owe the late General Sanni Abacha an apology.
The plight of Citizen Emeka Okoronkwo is indeed the shame of our nation. Do we rise in condemnation of tyranny or take sides with it as yesterday’s crusaders are today’s oppressors?
The authorities do not appear interested in the truth as they have, for whatever reason, bought Mr. Nwabuoku’s version of events as incredulous as it is, while refusing to even look at the verifiable facts and the account of Mr. Okoronkwo.
The campaign of calumny against the person of Mr. Okoronkwo, the seeming complicity in his plight by a leading human rights activist in calling in the aid of the Police Force in a civil transaction and the erosion of the fundamental rights and liberties of Mr. Okoronkwo are not only a sad commentary but most disheartening given the personalities that have been unscrupulously compromised in the case.
Citizen Okoronkwo should be allowed his bail to enable him to tend to his health and his business. The bedrock of every democracy is the rule of law and justice its handmaiden.