© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
After alleged assault on driver, Nigerian judge risks prosecution
A CROSS River Judge, Agnes Onyebueke of the Akamkpa High Court Division, is currently under fire for allegedly assaulting and abusing her driver, Otu Okon Edem, The ICIR has learnt.
According to documents and information obtained by our reporter, a four-man Committee has been set up by the Cross River State Judiciary to look into and resolve the case of the alleged assault.
This is coming weeks after a video posted by one Deborah Edem, Okon Edem’s sister, surfaced online.
In the video, Deborah called on the Cross River State authority and other relevant agencies to investigate the case of alleged abuse and assault meted out to her elder brother by the Judge.
In the 17 minutes video posted, Deborah alleged that the Judge had on several occasions abused her brother who is a senior driver posted to her office.
She explained that her brother was posted to Justice Agnes office in November 2019 and within the short time, her brother has experienced “abuse, oppression and molestation.”
In his own account, Edem narrated that the assault happened on March 4.
According to him, he was waiting for Justice Onyebueke’s orderly, Jerry, a police Sergeant after washing and positioning her car when he heard the call of his boss, Agnes.
“What I saw was the other guy, Obinna, was with iron rod, and she asked me to go down from the security post. I was so surprised. She first insulted my mother and I asked her what was wrong? Before I could say anything more, a blow was landed upon me which was at the right side of my face. The guy hit me up and beat on the ground,” he narrated.
Edem further disclosed that he was hit with an iron rod, noting that the old man who is the gate man could not help the situation. He revealed that he has instituted a case with the police and investigation is ongoing.
Available pictures retrieved by The ICIR from the local press showed that he sustained injuries on different parts of his body, including a fractured bone around his hand.
The husband of the embattled judge, Fidelis Onyebueke, also a barrister at law while giving his own account alleged that Edem was being sponsored to destroy the name of his family. He accused him of being a drug addict who had made open threat to kill his wife.
According to Onyebueke, the fight ensued after his son who had just undergone abdominal surgery weeks before the incident, asked Edem to re-position the car in order for him to drive out and get fruits.
What the law says
According to chapter 25 of the Nigerian Criminal Law, a person who strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to, the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without his consent, or with his consent, if the consent is obtained by fraud, or who by any bodily act or gesture attempts or threatens to apply force of any kind to the person of another without his consent, in such circumstances that the person making the attempt or threat has actually or apparently a present ability to effect his purpose, is said to assault that other person, and the act is called an assault.
The four man panel set up by the Cross River State Judiciary is expected to sit between Tuesday April 7 and Friday April, 10 2020. Edem Okokon, Chief Registrar is the Secretary of the Committee.