Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ekiti State chapter, yesterday staged a peaceful protest in Ado Ekiti to condemn the kidnapping and subsequent killing of a member of the association, Adeola Adebayo, by his abductors.
They also protested the killing of another member, Adesina Okeya, by unknown gunmen, who abducted him in Abuja and was later found dead few days after he was called to the Bar.
Adebayo, 33, a lawyer and former Secretary of Ikole branch of
NBA, was kidnapped on November 17 on Efon-Erio-Aramoko road and taken to an undisclosed location before his decomposed body was found on December 2 after the ransom had been paid.
In a petition addressed to the state Governor, Kayode Fayemi, which was submitted to the state Police
Commissioner, Mr. Bello Ahmed, and the state Director of Department of State
Services (DSS), Mrs. Precious Ihenacho, the lawyers registered their grievances over alleged lackadaisical attitude displayed by security agencies to the kidnappings.
The protesting lawyers, who clad in black attire to convey a message of mournful period for their members, were led by the Chairmen of Ado,
Ikere and Ikole branches of the association, Samuel Falade, Oludayo
Olorunfemi and Ibrahim Olanrewaju respectively.
They displayed placards with various inscriptions: ‘security of lives and property is primary, provide security for Nigerians’, ‘NBA says no to kidnapping, insecurity, killing’, ‘lawyers lives matters, 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 kidnappings and killings around the axis.
“We demand immediate request of 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, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, gave a marching order to security chiefs to find the killers and make the state save for all and sundry.
Egbeyemi, who is also a lawyer, said he was personally pained by the gruesome killings of these citizens of the state.
Attributing the recent spate of kidnapping in the state to poor
motivation of security agencies in the last four years, Egbeyemi stressed measures put in place during Fayemi’s first tenure was discarded by the immediate past administration.
He said: “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 in those areas, as you have rightly said, would be involved.
“Adesina Okeya, who was called to the Bar last week, was kidnapped and killed thereafter. We have sent message to Abuja that the case must be handled seriously and we are not leaving any stone unturned.”
On his part, the Police Commissioner, Ahmed, said the police made efforts to rescue eight out of those kidnapped alongside the deceased, adding that 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, and we were not even carried along when the ransom was paid.
“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,” he said.