A teacher, Uduonu Chijioke has denied widespread report that he was arrested by members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, for falsely parading himself as a legal practitioner.
Popular publishing organizations in Nigeria, excluding VANTAGE NEWS, labeled Chijioke a ‘fake Lawyer’ without carrying out an investigation to truly understand what transpired between him and some members of the NBA in Abakaliki that connived with police officers to arrest him.
Chijioke, who was driving his father’s car, was stopped on his way to one of the schools where he teaches in Abakaliki by men that claimed to be Barristers led by Ekigbo Nnamdi.
Ekigbo and his men tried to force their way into Chijioke’s car, and in the confusion, Chijioke drove off with one of them and later parked at Bethel Comprehensive Secondary School where he teaches.
Narrating what happened to our Correspondent, Chijioke said, “For the sake of the truth and justice, it is obviously the right time to speak up against the criminal elements in the Nigeria Bar Association (Abakaliki Bar) and my story in connection to the alleged arrest of a Fake lawyer in Abakaliki
“My name is Uduonu Chijioke, a well-known teacher in Abakaliki and very popular with Jamb and SSCE students.
“On the 24th of November, 2021. I was accustomed by unknown men, around Union Bank, Abakaliki at about 7:56 Am. They asked me why I had the NBA sticker on my vehicle and I simply told them that my father is a lawyer and that the car belongs to him. Before I could finish my reply. I witnessed a showcase of arbitrary force that can’t be linked to a legal profession.
“Two men struggled to gain entrance into the vehicle by force, and in the confusion, I sped off with the one that had already gained access to the vehicle to a safe place, which is one of the schools I teach that is close by (Bethel Comprehensive secondary school). The acclaimed security personnel in my vehicle left immediately after I got to the school.
“That was when I sensed foul play and decided to go after him to get proper introduction and verification. It is funny in their publication that they mentioned me taking their member to an unknown destination, which was obviously a school I teach in.
“One Ezigbo Samson Nnamdi, who was one of those that tried to gain forceful entrance to my vehicle came later and confirmed that I am a member of teaching staff in that school.
“I immediately took their pictures as instructed by my Father for proper verification of their identity. Ekigbo Samson Nnamdi felt so uncomfortable with the picture which also grew my suspicions. He decided to highlight their usual show of force and extortion. He threatened to deal with me for taking his photograph.
“I went into the SS1 classroom to teach the English Language when policemen stormed the school. Be it known that I was arrested in a classroom in front of my students with the whiteboard marker still in my hands. The police invaded the school and caused a lot of commotion, which is a full-blown insult to the noble profession of teaching and classroom.
“I followed the police to the station. After putting down my statements, I was informed by the police that I was accused of kidnapping and assault. It was very laughable even at the police station how I could kidnap someone and take him to a school where I teach and remained in a classroom teaching.
“The police asked me to pay thirty thousand naira for my bail. He advised me to go settle the matter privately with the lawyers that brought me or they will continue to waste my time.
“The IPO in charge said once I do that, I can come back later to pick my vehicle. I was reluctant in paying the money, but my friends waiting at the station quickly raised the money in their eagerness to see me out of the station.
“The police gave me the number of one Richard Utobo that I should call him and settle with him. I called him later in the day. After his claims that people are using NBA stickers on their cars to smuggle in arms to Ebonyi State. He later asked me to pay 50 thousand naira and other sums he mentioned.
“I contacted my elderly father who came down immediately to Ebonyi state and intervened. He identified the car as his at the police station. He met With some of the lawyers who apologized to him and asked him to go.
“Ekigbo Samson Nnamdi, the lawyer leading this criminal assault and extortion said that he only needed to teach me a lesson because I was rude to him. He asked me to go and “find something for the police” so the car can be released.
“I got my car almost immediately and I went back to class.”
Chijioke expressed shock that the people empowered by the law to defend Nigerians are the ones harassing and intimidating citizens.
“It is quite surprising that the law profession is being smeared by some bad wigs,” Chijioke said.
He added that “Richard Utobo claimed that people are sending in arms to the state with the NBA stickers and the commissioner of police gave them mandate to accustom people with NBA stickers. The simple process should be the policemen carrying out their functions and searching thoroughly not minding who has the NBA sticker or not
“Be it known that I never claimed to be a lawyer. I am already a well know teacher and I wonder how an NBA sticker in a car should be an overt action that amounts to impersonation.
“After their claims in the online publications. How come I am out with my car the next day after they allowed me to get bail at the police station. Quite ironical.
“The lies, behaviour, and attitudes of the lawyers mentioned bring down the hopes of young students that I represent as their teacher on the judiciary.”
Reacting, an Enugu-based lawyer, Barrister Nonso stated that having the NBA sticker does not amount to impersonation as someone like in the case of Chijioke can actually drive the car of a Barrister.
He said, “To have an NBA sticker doesn’t even decide membership of the bar, maybe the stamp and seal. And having the sticker on a car doesn’t amount to impersonation. The lawyers were wrong and misguided.”
Another Barrister, Emeka, wondered why lawyers would stand on roads chasing after persons that have NBA stickers in their cars.
He said, “it is a very funny incident. The sticker is placed on cars that even belong relations of a lawyer. I don’t think lawyers should have the time standing on the roads chasing NBA stickers.
“The lawyers’ stickers is just a show of insecurity by some persons. I have seen others like ‘I am a lawyer trouble is my job, my husband is a lawyer sue the bastard” And other funny inscriptions. It Is laughable that some group of learned men are taking stickers seriously. Maybe it is for extortion,” another Enugu-based Barrister, Nnanna added.
Commenting on the manner Chijioke was arrested inside the classroom and in front of his students, a teacher simply identified as Anthony, questioned the rationality of the police and the Barristers that accompanied them.
“The way Mr. Chijioke was picked from a classroom by policemen led by lawyers. I wonder if this was done to a lawyer in a law court. The media would have been on fire,” Anthony said.
Chijioke called for a full investigation into the matter and urged all publishing houses that carried the report to dig deep and clear his name.
“I demand a full investigation and objective report on this matter. For our collective good,” he concluded.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vantage News Nigeria or any employee thereof.