A lawyer who prides himself in picking up unpopular cases, Voice Olukoya Ogungbeje, has been in the news for choosing to defend notorious billionaire kidnap and armed robbery kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike aka Evans.
Ogungbeje, the head of Lawflex Chambers and the Chairman of Voice Vanguard, made the headlines when he filed a fundamental rights suit on behalf of Evans, dragging the Inspector General of Police, and others before a Federal High Court in Lagos, over the suspect’s alleged illegal detention.
Joined as respondents in the suit are the Nigeria Police Force, Commissioner of Police Lagos State, and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.
In the suit, Evans who has somehow become a celebrity following the media attention on him since his arrest on June 10, 2017, is seeking a court order directing the respondents to immediately charge him to court if there is any case against him.
On the alternative, he is seeking an order compelling the respondents to immediately release him unconditionally in the absence of any offense warranting a charged.
In the suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1012/2017, Evans is contending that his continued detention by the respondents since June 10, without a charge, or release on bail is an infringement on his fundamental rights.
However, those who know about Ogungbeje say he is a lover of unpopular cases and had been involved in controversial cases in recent times.
It was gathered that in April 2017, Ogungbeje filed a suit asking the Federal High Court to stay proceedings on the forfeiture of $43,449,947 [about N13 billion], N23,218,000 and £27,800 [about N10.6 million] found in a flat in Ikoyi, Lagos.
He had also sought an order directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], to furnish the court with a report of its preliminary or final investigation on the source of the money, its owner, and how the currencies got into the building.
Ogungbeje, in a motion on notice, also asked the court not to order a permanent forfeiture of the money since there were claims and counter claims as to its ownership by the Rivers State government and the National Intelligence Agency [NIA], and since the Federal Government had set up a panel to find the truth about the ownership of the money.
He, however, lost the case woefully as the presiding judge described him as a meddlesome interloper who had no stake in the case. The court went ahead to grant the request of the EFCC and the money was permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
Ogungbeje was also said to have once filed a suit in Lagos in 2014 asking for the reinstatement of Murtala Nyako as Governor of Adamawa State after Nyako was impeached by his state House of Assembly in July of the same year.
Ogungbeje claimed the Assembly’s alleged failure to serve Nyako personally with the impeachment notice violated his fundamental right to fair hearing as enshrined under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
Again, the case hit the rocks as it was thrown out of the court because it lacked merit and was not filed in Adamawa State where the impeachment took place.
So this is the man who has taken up the fight for the self-confessed notorious kingpin, Evans Onwuamadike and it is left to be seen whether he will triumph this time.