September 30, 2013

Kidnappers of Edo judge yet to make contact

BENIN— Kidnappers of an Edo State High Court Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, abducted on his way to resume at the Ekpoma Division of the high court last week, are yet to make contact with the family.

It was gathered that no ransom demand had been made, nor communications established by the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSON, has resolved to stage a protest march to Edo State Governor’s office, Department of State Services, DSS, and the Commissioner of Police, today to register their displeasure over the kidnap of Justice Okungbowa.

JUSON at its meeting, weekend in Benin, directed its members to stay at home for seven days effective from Wednesday, if the judge was not released.

Edo State branch Treasurer of JUSON, Alex Osigbemhe, told Vanguard that their decision to boycott all judicial activities in the state pending the unconditional release of Justice Okungbowa was total, insisting that the kidnap of lawyers and judges in the state was becoming an embarrassment.

He said: “We will decide on the next line of action to take if at the end of the seven days, the judge was not released.”

Judges’ resolution

Meanwhile, judges in the state may have resolved to shun the courts in protest over the abduction of Justice Okungbowa.

The action of the judges is coming on the heels of the resolution by the Benin branch of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, to boycott all courts in the state until Justice Okungbowa was released unhurt and unconditionally.

Vanguard learnt that among the courts allegedly shunned by NBA last week were Court of Appeal, Benin Division, Federal High Court, all state high court, magistrate courts, customary courts, and district customary courts.

NBA reacts

NBA, in a statement by its chairman, Oriane Akere, called on the state government and security agencies to live up to their responsibilities and take proactive measures to stop the state from degenerating “into the Hobbesian state of nature, where life was short, nasty and brutish.”

It was learnt that security operatives of DSS and the Police in Edo and Delta states were working together to ensure the safe release of Justices Okungbowa.