By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ekiti chapter, Monday staged a peaceful protest in Ado Ekiti to condemn the kidnapping and subsequent killing of a top member Adeola Adebayo by abductors.
They also protested the killing of a member, Mr. Adesina Okeya, by unknown gunmen, who abducted him in Abuja and was later found dead a few days after he was called to the Bar.
Adebayo, 33, and former Secretary of Ikole branch of NBA, was kidnapped on November 17 along Efon-Erio-Aramoko road and taken to an undisclosed location before his decomposed body was found on Sunday, December 2 after the ransom had been paid.
In a petition addressed to Fayemi, which was submitted to the Police Commissioner, Mr. Bello Ahmed, and Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Mrs Precious Ihenacho, at the headquarters in the state capital, the lawyers registered their grievances over alleged lackadaisical attitudes displayed by securitymen to the kidnapping.
The protesting lawyers, who were clad in black attire to convey a message of mournful period for their members, were led by the Chairmen of Ado, Ikere and Ikole NBA branches, Samuel Falade, Oludayo Olorunfemi and Ibrahim Olanrewaju respectively.
They paraded placards with the following inscriptions: ‘Security of Lives and Property is primary, provide security for Nigerians’, ’ NBA Says no to Kidnapping, Insecurity, Killing’, ‘Lawyers Lives Matter, and Save Our Souls’, among others.
The petition presented by Olanrewaju to the trio of Fayemi, CP and DSS Director said: “The purpose of government is to provide security for lives and property and where this is not done, the said government is considered to have failed the electorate and constitution it swore to protect.
“No Nigerian should be subjected to untold economic hardship and still left without security while struggling to make ends meet. As we grieve the loss of our departed member, we use this medium to remind you of your responsibility to citizens and request that all hands must be on deck to forestall reoccurrence in the state.
“The state government is not oblivious of the activities of these deadly killers between Iwaraja and Aramoko Ekiti, but it saddens us that there is an ongoing criminal silence to act despite the sustained kidnapping and killing around the axis.
“We demand immediate request for deployment of troops to comb the area, arrest and bring to justice those who perpetrated this killing. If this dastardly killing could happen to a lawyer, what do you think will happen to ordinary man. We are all endangered species.”
Addressing the lawyers, the Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi gave a marching order to security chiefs to find the killers and make Ekiti save for all and sundry.
Egbeyemi, himself a lawyer, said he was personally pained by the gruesome killings of these citizens of Ekiti State.
Attributing the recent spate of kidnapping in the state to poor motivation of security agencies in the last four years, Egbeyemi stressed the measures put in place during Governor Fayemi’s first tenure, adding that it was discarded by the last administration.
“We have taken the matter of Adebayo and others very seriously, when the report got to the governor, he arranged for people to go to the place and ordered the Commissioner of Police and the Army to take part in the rescue mission.
“Apart from that, we are reliably informed that Ikere, Ogbese, Erio, Aramoko, Igbara Odo and Iju had allegedly become dens for suspected kidnappers.
“Notwithstanding, we are going to order policemen and other security agencies to be drafted to those areas and the Obas, as you have rightly said, in those areas would be involved.
“The boy (Adesina Okeya) who was called to the Bar last week, was kidnapped and died thereafter. We have sent to Abuja that the case must be handled seriously and we are not leaving any stone unturned,” he said.
The Police Commissioner Ahmed said the police made efforts to rescue eight out of those kidnapped alongside the deceased, saying the warning given by the deceased’s family that they should treat softly on the matter made police to soft-pedal on their investigation.
Ahmed said: “We expressed our sympathy and condolences to the deceased’s family.
“The family asked us to be cautious on this issue when the kidnappers established contact with them and we had to respect their views. You said you paid ransom, we were not even carried along when the ransom was paid.
“The security of lives is the work of everybody, we are working round the clock. We trekked over 40 kilometres into the bush while searching for him.
“We have made major arrests in the recent bank robbery in Ijero Ekiti where three policemen were killed. We are after others and we will do our best to arrest all these culprits.”