Defamation: I’m open for peace but not graveyard peace – Activist 

South African based activist, Comrade Boniface Okonkwo on Wednesday reiterated his lack of confidence in the judge, Justice Vincent Agbata handling his trial at the Anambra High Court, Nnewi Division.

He said he had communicated his disappointment to the Chief Justice, but wondered why his request was turned down.

Okonkwo spoke to reporters shortly after adjournment of the case to Wednesday, May 22, where the forensic Police expert handling the matter was cross examined by the counsel to the defendant, Oseleka Osuigwe (SAN) while Alexander Ejesieme (SAN) appeared for the prosecution.

“I’ve already told the court, which I put in writing that I no longer have confidence in this particular court handling my trial. Unfortunately, the CJ turned it down, insisting the same judge should continue.

“I don’t have any other option. When a defendant said he has lost confidence in the judge, there are other courts which I’m not dictating. 

“What is going on is just trampling on my human rights and power show to prove to me that he has connections,” he said.

The activist however said he was open to peace option as earlier canvassed by his elder brother, Pastor Cyril Okonkwo who mulled for an out-of-court settlement, but insisted such peace would not be sought while still incarcerated.

He said, “As a Pastor, of 30 years calling, my brother, what do you expect him to say? He meant well to sue for peace. Of course, if matter is still in court, and there’s option for peace, why won’t I go for peace? 

“My current address now is Nnewi prison. Yes I want peace, but not the peace of graveyard. If you’re talking of peace, I won’t be in detention, for four months. I’m still open for peace, but it’s not when I’m still in prison

“You can win matter in court, but you’ll never win peace. But I won’t be in detention seeking for peace. But it will surprise you to know that the life of the same person calling for peace is being tormented.

He continued, “I have never had criminal records anywhere. This is not his first time of arresting me. In 2007 and 2013 I was arrested by the same man on alleged defamation of character. 

“My passport was withheld for almost a year. I was unable to travel to do my business. It’s just a tragedy.

“But at the end of the day, the Magistrate court in Abuja threw out the case. It’s on record that they never asked for my international passport. They only requested for a royal father and one guarantor resident in Abuja.

“Yet I never jumped bail. I sued through Femi Falana and the court awarded me N5m against them. The matter was appealed. 

“If Abuja Magistrate court could grant me bail, yet a high court within my jurisdiction is talking about abscondment. It’s unbelievable what’s going on in Anambra judiciary.”

Asked why he had been a target of attack, Okonkwo said, “As a human rights activist, I fight for the vulnerable. I speak out against atrocities and injustice. I joined campaign for democracy in 1990 under Ransome Kuti. 

“I was given chieftaincy title by the monarch of Ezumeru. Even though I rejected it because I don’t lobby for such, but I was convinced that a prophet is not recognised by his people. That was on December 27 before January 3 I was arrested.

“Since then I have been in detention and the man has been boasting that even if I go to appeal, nobody can bail me in Nigeria. 

“I ask again, the alleged defamation of character, is it a capital offence? The same offence that Abuja court granted me bail and I didn’t jump? The judge alleged I’m a flight risk, which flight risk? I’m a Nigerian, though resident in South Africa. But I’m an indigenous of Oraifite, where will I run to?

“I’m once again, appealing to his Excellency, President Ahmed Tinubu, his wife and Vice, Senator Shettima to intervene. I also want Nigeria press, bloggers to help me out from this pathetic situation. 

“I’m equally calling on Femi Falana to help out as member of Human Rghts group to ensure I secure my bail so I can be coming to the court from my home. 

“My mother is above 90years while my kids are all in an international school and I can’t pay their fees. Currently, I’m sick and can’t access medicare. The other day I nearly fainted. 

“I was told they want to bring the lab test to me, but I said no. I can afford to pay my bill in the hospital. I can’t be subjected to medication by those who I don’t know.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.