Justice Nwosu-Iheme: How ‘Uniformed Policemen’ Abducted Me, Killed My Orderly in Benin-City
Appeal Court Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, who was abducted in Benin City last month and recently regained her freedom after about 14 days in captivity, has narrated how six “uniformed policemen”, who parked their Hilux vehicle on bad stretch of a road in Benin City, abducted her and killed her police orderly, according to a report in The Source Magazine.
Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme was abducted on October 30, 2019 at about 11.30am in Benin City. Her security detail, a police inspector, was killed in the incident.
In a report in The Source Magazine on Thursday, Justice Nwosu-Iheme also dispelled initial insinuations that her abduction may be connected with the cases she was handling. She said her abduction was not pre-planned.
She said she was at the right place at the wrong time.
Speaking when a group of women, mostly choristers from the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Lord (CATOL), Anglican Communion, Owerri, visited her at her residence in Owerri, Justice Nwosu-Iheme recounted her ordeal in the hands of her abductors, revealing how she was abducted.
According to the report: “The abduction scene was a stretch of bad road in the city. Every motorist usually slowed down there. As her car was approaching the spot, there were ‘uniformed policemen’ there. Well-kitted, they packed their double-decked Hilux vehicle, stood by, AK 47 guns in had.
“They were kidnappers. She didn’t know. Nobody knew. They had already, earlier, kidnapped four people, including mother and daughter. There was also a young ex-FUTO student, an engineer, who wept like a baby as soon as she recognized Nwosu-Iheme. He was classmate with her son at FUTO. The judge was in the habit of feeding all of them fat, and giving them pocket money each time they visited.
“The kidnappers were waiting to kidnap more people when her lordship’s SUV, bearing an FG plate number and judiciary, approached. They saw a policeman sitting in front, and knew that whoever must have a kidnap value. They smiled and readied themselves for action.
“As her vehicle slowed down, they saluted her. She raised her hand and took their compliments. That was when they struck.”
According to the report, before she could bring down the hand she had just raised to take the compliments, a volley of gunshots rained on the vehicle.
“Confused, she wondered where the shots came from. Momentarily, she was relaxed, thinking she was in the midst of policemen. But instinctively, she bent her head down. And so did her orderly, or so she thought. She didn’t know that he had been fatally shot. He was wearing a bullet proof vest. They knew and, so aimed at his forehead.
“Before she could comprehend what was happening, scores of bullets rained again, this time, shattering her car’s two back tyres.”
The report said the judge immediately told her driver to drive since they were in the city and it was in broad daylight, hoping that help would come.
According to the report, she thought of two options: To feign she was dead, or to allow them take her.
Weighing both options, she discarded the former over fears that if she feigned she was dead, “they may in anger, for losing a high profile price pump bullets into her. She opted to be brought out from the car, and put in the Hilux. That was where she met the others earlier kidnapped.”
Dispelling other insinuations about her abduction, the report quoted Justice Nwosu-Iheme thus: “I was not a target. I was not trailed. Nobody double-crossed my car. I was not on the Benin-Agbor road. It was in Benin city. I ran into them. Four people had been kidnapped before me. If I had delayed anywhere by 20 minutes, that would have saved us. They would have driven off before our arrival.”
Giving graphic details of what followed, the Source Magazine report said: “As soon as they put her in the Hilux, the first thing they did was to grab her wrist watch. They looked at it, they screamed. Their joy knew no bounds. These guys knew the make. Then, they grabbed her rings and her bangles and screamed some more. They went back to her car, took her handbag, saw the quality and knew they had hit a jackpot. Then, they went back and grabbed her suitcase. They took their time. Yet, the thousands of security personnel in Benin – military, police, civil defence, para-military – were nowhere near! God has buttered their bread, the abductors exclaimed. They, therefore, discarded the idea of waiting for some more victims. Justice Nwosu-Iheme was more than enough. They drove off, unconfronted. And this was inside Benin City!”
The report said all through the journey to their final destination, there were no police or military checkpoints, suggesting that the abductors knew their route.
According to the report, by the next morning, her abductors had known her identity fully from information on the internet, as the social media was awash with her rich curriculum. A judge of the Court of Appeal, which they ignorantly or derisively referred to as judge of the Appeal Supreme Court, was in their den.
“Madam justice, you have broken the internet. We thank God for providing you for us. We are happy you are in our midst. After you, we will not embark on any other job for the next six months. God has blessed us with you in our midst”, the report quoted her abductors as saying.
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