A pro-Labour Party (LP) group, the OBIdient Solidarity Movement (OSM), has exposed the alleged double-faced role of Chief Oba Ambrose Maduabuchi, SAN, the legal counsel to Lamidi Apapa, the controversial former factional Acting National Chairman of the LP, as a lawyer who allegedly kidnapped kids of his in-law.
Recall that Apapa with the help of Maduabuchi, had on Friday 19th May, ‘invaded’ the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) in Abuja as justices of the court failed to recognise Maduabuchi, the legal counsel for the Apapa led-Labour Party faction.
Trouble started when the tribunal began pre-hearing session of the petition filed by Labour Party and its candidate, Mr Peter Obi, prompting the party’s legal counsel, Awa Kalu to announce appearance for the party.
Kalu, was however, countered by Maduabuchi, who rose to announce appearance also for the Apapa-led LP faction. He claimed that he was handed the brief to represent the party by its officials.
The tribunal subsequently intervened, stating that the Apapa faction did not file the petition, and as such cannot present legal representation for the LP. The court further told Maduabuchi point-blank that there cannot be two counsels representing the party.
Another member of the panel berated Maduabuchi for accepting the brief when he was aware that the party already had its team of lawyers.
“As a learned silk, you should know better and you should have told whoever that briefed you that there is another lawyer handling the matter,” a member of the panel added.
Following the court’s incident, the OSM has described Maduabuchi as a man of “questionable character with outrageous record of lawless acts and uncountable amount of disregard for due process whenever it matters, who used his position to abduct the children of his son-in-law.”
The LP group, in a statement issued over the week, said following their pledge to unravel the full identity, character and personality of Maduabuchi, the OSM have concluded its investigation on the counsel to Apapa-led LP faction and have unravelled a lot of mischievous inhuman lawless acts, wickedness, impunity and disregard for due process whenever it matters on the part of Maduabuchi.
OSM stated, “Our investigation further revealed that the so-called lawyer of Apapa, the controversial Labour Party leader, is indeed a man of questionable character with zero integrity and a lover of irregularities. We found out in the cause of our investigation that Mr. Ambrose Maduabuchi,(SAN) from Achi, Oji River Council area of Enugu state, has been dragged to court by his in-law, an octogenarian and senior retired federal civil servant, Chief Joseph Chuks Elobuike, over the top legal officer’s refusal to bring home the remains of his late daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.
“Contrary to Igbo tradition and customs, Maduabuchi, and family, according to Chief Elobuike, had denied them access to the remains of their late daughter in-law, Mrs. Nnenna Elobuike and their three children, even when she was duly and legally married to their late son, Robert Elobuike.”
Chief Elobuike, in a suit, said Maduabuchi popularly known as Oba, locked him and his family members out on relevant information concerning the up-keep and whereabouts of his deceased daughter in-law, Nnenna and his three grandchildren whom were products of the marriage that existed between his now deceased son, Robert Elobuike and Nnenna Maduabuchi after their holy matrimony in December 2008.
An impeccable source close to the Elobuike’s told OSM that trouble started when, in an ensuing marital crisis between late Nnenna and Robert, the former ran away from her matrimonial home with their three kids, leaving behind her husband who was overwhelmed by the domestic crisis.
As the matter lingered without any solution, Nnenna’s mother, Mrs. Obiageli Maduabuchi, stormed Robert’s matrimonial home in Enugu on Sunday, October 7, 2012, in company of two women said to be the husband’s sister and niece, two men and Nnenna’s two brothers.
According to the source, the uninvited guests, made away with Robert’s properties which was loaded in a waiting truck parked outside the premises of his apartment.
The source said since Mrs Maduabuchi and her gang left that faithful Sunday, October 7, 2012, with her daughter and Robert’s property, the son in-law never set his eyes on neither his wife nor children, even as he was not allowed access to them until his unfortunate demise on December 6, 2016, during a brief illness.
It was learnt that throughout the period Robert, who worked as a banker, was hospitalized at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, neither his estranged wife Nnenna, his children nor any member of his in-law’s family visited him at the hospital, despite several calls and messages, informing her about her husband’s failing health condition.
“Nnenna also refused to make herself available to receive the death certificate of her husband when she was informed about his sudden demise,” the OSM’s source further claimed in the statement.
Robert, fondly called (Bob) by friends and close associates, was eventually committed to mother Earth on December 15, 2016, without the presence of his wife, children nor any representative from his In-laws’ family as they all refused to grace or participate in the funeral ceremony.
It was further learnt that Mr Maduabuchi, who has not been communicating with his in-laws had on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, called Chief Elobuike on the phone to inform him that his daughter-in-law, Nnenna, had also died.
He told his in-law, that their daughter-in-law had tumour in the head, and promised to visit his in-law to discuss in details about the death, “a promise he never fulfilled till date,” said the source.
“Maduabuchi never fulfilled any of such promise, and when contacted, he blamed the COVID-19 lockdown as reasons for his inability to visit Chief Elobuike as promised.
“Despite all he did, Mr Maduabuchi, left Chief Elobuike in the lurch and began making his daughter’s burial arrangement with one Osita Okechukwu and Calistus Mgboh,” added the source.
The source noted further, “When Chief Elobuike learnt of this, he was angered and cautioned Maduabuchi against any discussion or arrangement for burial at his place with anyone other than himself being the father to the son marrying the deceased (Nnenna).
“Elobuike, thereafter, insisted that for the burial to take place at his native home, as demanded by custom, his in-law, Maduabuchi, must produce the corpse of the deceased and the three children must come home and receive their mother’s remains and not attending her funeral like visitors.
“Angered by the manner the SAN treated him and his family, Chief Elobuike filed a lawsuit against Maduabuchi, with several arguments, alluding to the fact that his in-law had refused to comply with the dictates of custom and voice of reason.
“Chief Elobuike argued that as tradition demands, Nnenna, the deceased daughter-in-law who hailed from Ehuhe-Achi in Oji River Council area of Enugu State, must be buried at her place of marriage, which is the late Robert Elobuike’s compound in Eke, Udi local government council.”
However, there are strong indications that Maduabuchi may have buried Nnenna in his country home at Oji River instead of her husband’s hometown, Eke, in Udi LGA.
To give credence to the speculation making the rounds that Nnenna’s remains may have been buried at her father’s compound, Maduabuchi, had in a massage he sent to counsel to the defendant, Barr. Ray Nnaji, said that he is going to bury his daughter’s corpse where her husband came from, “but unfortunately, he carried the corpse and buried it at Ehuhe-Achi, his own hometown on the 4th of September, 2020,” Nnaji said.
Barr Nnaji said that his client had even engaged Maduabuchi’s traditional ruler, Igwe Egwuatu and the traditional ruler of Eke, Igwe H.C Onuoha from Oji River LGA and Udi LGA, respectively, to mediate and broker a lasting peace to the lingering crisis.
But Maduabuchi, according to him, refused to heed to the counsels of the monarchs.
The plaintiff, however, said he approached the court for it to determine which customs should regulate the relationship of the two parties in a situation whereby the children are still in the custody of the defendant.
Besides, the plaintiff is equally praying the court to determine where the corpse of his son’s wife and daughter-in-law, Nnenna Elobuike should be buried.
Our correspondent reports that the suit was initially filed at Ezeagu High Court, but due to issue of jurisdiction, the plaintiff had to withdraw the case and file it at the Enugu State High Court, on 21st of September, 2020 when the matter came up for hearing in the court.
It was learnt that on that particular day, Mr. Maduabuchi was secretly represented by one Barr. Dom Ezeani, who submitted that the matter can be settled out of court, a submission lawyers to the plaintiff objected, citing various acts of Maduabuchi’s reneging in agreements reached.
The plaintiff’s counsel, raised the issue of the burial which they argued, has destroyed any chance of peaceful settlement outside Court.
Justice Nwobodo, thereafter, transferred the matter to Oji High Court, citing customary content.
But when the matter came up on Monday,16th November, 2020 for mention at the Oji River State High Court, the presiding judge, Justice CVC Ezeugwu, denied the jurisdiction of the court to treat such matter as the matter wasn’t properly routed to him by the Chief Judge of the state.
According to him, what was involved is the custom of the parties of which, the custom of the plaintiff’s son, Robert Elobuike takes precedent.
In this case, according to the judge, the Udi High Court which is domiciled in Enugu State High Court should handle the matter.
He added that the matter would be transferred to the Chief Judge for re-assignment, saying he would only handle the matter if eventually re-assigned back to him.
Justice Ezeugwu also noted that the defendant, Mr. Maduabuchi has never appeared in the case previously and that the method of service was by substitution.
The lawyer to the plaintiff informed the Judge that “Mr. Maduabuchi, SAN, was duly served and there is also an affidavit to that effect”, noting “when the time comes, we will establish the fact that he was served accordingly.”
Based on the foregoing, the OBIdient Solidarity Movement (OSM) argued that it was obvious Maduabuchi is a “questionable character that loves irregularities.”
Efforts to obtain comments from Maduabuchi, SAN, on the allegations levelled against him by the pro-Labour Party group proved abortive. As at the time of filing this report, his known phone line was not reachable.