Former State Assembly aspirant and local politician in Nsukka Local Government Area, of Enugu State, Mr. Onyeka Ugwu, was on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, charged to Chief Magistrate Mba’s Court in Enugu metropolis following the unraveling of his relentless exercise in cyber-stalking of former Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, Dr. Dan Shere.
The cyber-stalker who was learnt to be one of Shere’s close aides and Opi-Nsukka townsman, had ceaselessly worked at injuring the reputation of Dr. Shere from about 2018 to the present day when he was eventually caught and brought to court.
He had steadily crafted and circulated malicious contents against the person of the former SSG, ensuring that his prestige and social capital within the political and community leadership levels were kept at the lowest ebb at all times. He had acquired various SIM cards for this operation and had achieved a level of steady flow of his brand of propaganda that readers of his obnoxious contents had gotten used to his choice of words.
His media were WhatsApp personal and group forums, and other social media platforms.
First Count of the Charge, No: CME/354c/2023, reads,
“That you, Onyeka Ugwu ‘Male’ and others now at large, between the month of December 2022 to May 2023, at No. 7 Deacon Okey Ogbodo Street, GRA, Enugu, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: cyber-stalking and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 24 (1) (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015.” The charge was filed by Police Prosecutor, E. Ajogwu, Esq.
In one of the tweets in question, 58-year old Ugwu had claimed that Shere had faked his kidnap when he was seized and hauled into the Ugwogo/Ekwegbe bushes by kidnappers sometime last year. Shere spent over five days in the jungle, where he was subjected the worst of horrific sights and fear for his dear life. But in the words of the stalker, the story of kidnap was made up by Shere for personal popularity and political agenda. He therefore asked his audience to ignore the news of any such kidnap.
In another tweet which he widely circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, he claimed that Shere had used one of his agents to script a petition to the EFCC and ICPC, against the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, over a claimed 50 million Dollar water grant. In the same tweet, he alleged that Shere had also clandestinely propped Labour Party candidates against the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, candidates, a story capable of strongly annoying PDP leadership to mobilise against Shere.
The second Count of the Charge reads,
“that you Onyeka Ugwu and others now at large on the same date and place in the aforementioned Magisterial district did intentionally type and send messages to Barr. Sylve Onah, Joel Asogwa, Fr. Ben Agbo, Barr. Ralph Ugwu, Hon. Emeka Odoh, Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani, Hon. Eugene Odoh and other members of the public variously titled “Dan Shere’s obsession for power and intrigues in Opi”, “Bombshell!!! Dr. Dan Shere’s Multi Billion Fraud Busted”, “Dan Shere as clog in the wheel of progress of PDP in Enugu North”, “Destabiliser”, etc, through the phone number, 08160954334 to WhatsApp social network, knowing same to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, insult and hatred of Dr. Dan Shere, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 24 (1) (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.”
Ugwu, an Opi-Nsukka local politician, who had endlessly begged Dr. Shere to recommend him to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a seat in the Enugu State House of Assembly, 2023, was also charged under Section 24, subsection 2 (a) and Section 34 of the same Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015, and risks various terms of imprisonment if convicted.
Police sources said that the stalker was arrested after Shere had lodged complaints against the user of certain GSM numbers which had been persistently used in attacking and stalking him. The Police had then carried out investigations and eventually tracked the numbers to Ugwu’s home which was searched and many SIM cards, including the ones used against Shere, were discovered. He was said to have confessed to the acts, but pleaded effusively to be forgiven.
Since his arrest, another source revealed, Shere had come under intense pressure by friends and other networth persons who had been contacted by the stalker and wife, to plead on his behalf.
Shere, who was at the arraignment sat calmly, in utter shock. When he eventually spoke, it was in shocked whispers, “this man’s damage to my person is unquantifiable…it is colossal…there is no end to it, and it went on for too long…I had been wondering who was doing this to me…for so long,” he moaned, almost in tears.
When prodded to speak on the possible reasons for such sustained campaign of calumny, he said that he had no idea. “I actually regarded him as one of my closest boys. I was his first son’s godfather. I took him into confidence. We were so intimate that he could pass the night in my house, without any formal notification…now can you imagine what would be in the mind of the immediate past governor when a person who was always in my personal company or entourage each time I visited him (the governor) sent him such fabricated story of me writing or promoting somebody to write petitions to EFCC and ICPC?” His frame quaked in reverberation, as he contemplated the quantum damage.
Ugwu had also sent out tweets claiming that Shere had seized swaths belonging to his Opi community, and that lands belonging to the Ekweghe, a neighbouring town were also netted into the Shere vast land estate. He claimed that the size was more than two times that of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, land areas.
He even alleged that Shere had started selling some portions of the lands and had planned and commenced a designed massive housing scheme, independent estates and commercial farm lands, at a place close to the Maduka University at Ekwegbe, Igbo Etiti Local government area.
Shere is a politician of good measures and being targeted as he was, does not appear to observers as a mere design, plot and execution of a loner as Onyeka Ugwu, who stood in the arraignment box.
One of Nsukka political players who chose anonymity, told this reporter that Onyeka Ugwu was an agent of some persons who had worked hard, from 2003 to clip Shere’s wings in politics of Enugu State. According to him, it was the same group that used their kind of measures to get the then governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, to change his mind about fielding Shere as his successor in 2007. The same group or an offshoot of it has been at work, and the aim was that Shere must be stopped at all costs from being admitted into the inner chambers of the immediate past governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“I don’t know what they have planned in this new administration,” he said, but, “in my calculation,” he averred, “it would be naïve to think that the coast is clear just because one of them is uncovered. It is a ring, and it is one that is deeply embedded in the Shere clan,” he said.
Ugwu, whose plea could not be taken, was denied bail and the matter adjourned to June 16, 2023, by Magistrate Mba.
Credit: Sen Chijinkem Ugwuanyi