Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
Following the near-deplorable security situation in Edo State, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Benin branch, thursday called for the declaration of state of emergency on the state of security in the state.
The call was contained in a joint statement signed by the association Chairman, Mr. Collins Ogiebaen, and Secretary, Mr. Pius Oiwoh, which was made available to journalists.
The association said the call became necessary due to the rising wave of insecurity across the state.
The statement added that no fewer than eight lawyers and judges have been abducted across the state within the last nine months, with the most recent being the abduction of Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme last Wednesday.
The Bar vowed to shut down all court proceedings in the state should the law enforcement agencies fail to secure the release of Nwosu-Iheme.
The body gives the state government 72 hours to secure the release of the Justice.
In the statement, the NBA, which condemned the worsening security situation in the state, said bandits and kidnappers have laid siege in the state, calling on the state government to as a matter of urgency, overhaul the security architecture of the state.
According to them, “The security of lives and property is the responsibility of government. Our judicial officers must also be given adequate security in their homes, work place and while moving from one place to another. Lawyers and indeed other citizens must be adequately protected.
“You will recall that about a month ago, the bar called off the boycott of courts in respect of cases of armed robbery and kidnapping which was in force since April 17, 2019.
“The resolution leading to the boycott was prompted by the rising trend of kidnap of lawyers and other indigenes of our dear state as well as the rampant incidences of armed robbery which effect needs a declaration of a state of emergency in our state.”
Justice Nwosu-Iheme, who is the Chairman of the Edo State Appeal Panel entertaining petitions arising from the judgement of national/state assemblies elections, was last Wednesday morning abducted by suspected gunmen in Benin-city.
The Justice of the Court of Appeal was kidnapped on Benin-Agbor road on Wednesday morning while her police orderly was killed.