Lawyers boycott courts over ex-NBA chairman’s abduction


Members of the Auchi branch of the Nigerian Bar Association have commenced a seven-day boycott of the courts in protest against the abduction of their former Chairman, Mr Anthony Itemuagbor.

Itemuagbor was whisked away by unknown gunmen at Ahor, in the Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of the state, on Sunday.

His wife was said to have been shot dead by the kidnappers as they moved him and other victims to an unknown location.

The abductors were said to have demanded a ransom of N50m for Itemuagbor’s release.

Speaking with our correspondent on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Auchi branch of the NBA, Mr Simon Mokidi, condemned the abduction of the lawyer and the killing of his wife by the attackers.

Mokidi stated, “We have asked the Secretary of the Bar to formally lodge a report with the Commissioner of Police. We have also dispatched a letter from a lawyer in his (Itemuagbor) office to the Divisional Police Officer at Ehor to make a statement on the matter.

“For now, we are not sitting in solidarity with him. We are not going to court this week.

“It (kidnap) is an action everybody should condemn in its entirety, because it borders on the security of everybody. If we, as law-abiding citizens can no longer move safely in our society, then what is left of us here?

“If a lawyer is not safe, then nobody else is safe, because lawyers are defenders of the rule of law; we are the ones defending everybody.”

He added, “So, if a kidnapper does not have respect for a lawyer, then you know that nobody is safe in the society. So, it (abduction) is an action that every other person should condemn, particularly because they killed his wife, are still holding the man captive and asking for N50m.

“Where will he get N50m? The body of the wife has been deposited in a mortuary.”

Mokidi, who noted that the development had left the family of the victims heartbroken, called on the Nigeria Police to take steps to rescue the kidnapped lawyer.

He said, “We do not think this has to do with disagreement with anybody because the information available to us is that the gunmen also picked some other persons. They insisted that N50m must be paid.

“We just want the police to swing into action to see how they can help the situation. His (Itemuagbor) baby is just about two years and she has been taken to her grandmother, because his wife was the only daughter of her mother.”

Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, for comments were unsuccessful.

Nwabuzor neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.


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