This should not only unnerve and agitate all of us but must also jolt our collective conscience’
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) saturday condemned ‘the horrifying and criminal’ abduction of Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu, PhD, Justice of the Court of Appeal and called for her immediate release and safe return to her family.
In a statement issued yesterday, NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN said the police owed their colleague and her police orderly, who was killed during her abduction, a duty to arrest the perpetrators.
NBA said Justice Iheme-Nwosu JCA’s car was intercepted and disabled in a Rambo-style, by dare-devil criminals, who executed her orderly with the proficiency of marksmen right in the heart of Benin City and then abducted her in broad daylight at about 11.30am.
The association said the abduction of Justice Iheme-Nwosu and the killing of her orderly must not end up as part of crime statistics.
“The law enforcement agencies owe their assassinated colleague, Iheme-Nwosu, JCA’s orderly the debt and responsibility of fishing out and meting justice to the criminals, who so brutally and heinously murdered him and abducted His Lordship,” the statement stated.
He noted that as at the time of issuing the statement, His Lordship’s whereabouts and safety were unknown and of grave concern to all well meaning persons.
NBA said: “We owe ourselves the responsibility of stopping these criminals now. They must not go unpunished. We must start our redemption by ensuring the safe return of Iheme-Nwosu, JCA. Nothing must happen to His Lordship and her abductors must not escape justice.”
NBA described the kidnap of the appellate court judge as utterly reprehensible, which “should not only unnerve and agitate all of us but must also jolt our collective conscience.”
The association said incidences of kidnap had become one too many and should be condemned by everyone.
It noted that it should be a taboo for criminals to breach and tamper with the safety of judges generally.
“We made this point in the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Release following the recent kidnap of Honorable Justice Abdu Dogo of the Federal High Court. Given the sensitive nature of judges’ assignments, it behooves on us to make criminal attacks on them most unprofitable for the criminals lest justice becomes imperiled and shackled.
“This point assumes greater importance in this season, when Justices of the Court of Appeal are crisscrossing the Nigerian nation to sit on and dispense justice in election petition matters.
“The Court of Appeal, as most would know, is the court of last resort for all House of Assembly and National Assembly election matters and we have plenty of these at this time.
“Given the sensitive nature of those petitions, these Court of Appeal panels are mostly constituted and made up of Justices who are deployed outside of their normal duty stations.
“Some of the venues for these Court of Appeal Tribunals are in cities that are inaccessible by air or not easily accessible by air, which means our Justices are left with no option but to travel to these locations by road. And, in that process, Their Lordships are exposed to great harm and danger in the hands of underworld men and women.
“Couple that with the fact that Iheme-Nwosu JCA was criminally assaulted and kidnapped right in the city, where she works and in broad daylight and the conclusion and prospects become inescapable, to wit, that justice and indeed, our democracy is potentially shackled and totally imperiled by the criminal men and women in our midst.”
NBA wondered what type of bestial and evil people would descend on a woman and a Justice, with such violence and inhumanness, as was meted out to Iheme-Nwosu JCA?