The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed concern over the silence of both the Federal Government and law enforcement agencies two weeks after the kidnap of a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu and the killing of her.
The above concern was expressed by the President of the NBA Mr. Paul Usoro SAN in another press release demanding for an update from the Federal Government on the efforts made by security operatives in this regard.
Below is the press release
KIDNAP OF HONORABLE JUSTICE CHIOMA IHEME-NWOSU, Ph.D JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL – GOVERNMENTS’ SILENCE
It is of great concern to the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) and very disheartening and distressing that almost a fortnight after the reprehensible kidnap of Honorable Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu, PhD JCA on 30 October 2019, not a word has been heard from relevant governments and/or any of their security and law enforcement agencies on efforts to secure her safe release and return. It is our belief and expectation that the various governments and their agencies are working assiduously to secure the safe release of Iheme-Nwosu, JCA and to bring the criminals to book but the citizenry need to be updated on these efforts and to have periodic information on the progress that is being achieved.
In other climes, daily bulletin reports by relevant authorities in regard to momentous and heart-rending incidents such as we currently face is routine and taken for granted. The kidnap of any judicial officer, and in particular, a judge of a superior court and a Justice of the Court of Appeal is of such grave moment as to deserve daily bulletin report from relevant governments and their agencies. Such reports not only give hope to the citizenry but also reassure our judicial officers who now need to worry about the possibilities of criminal abduction and captivity in the course of their judicial functions. Without such bulletin reports, imagination runs wild and fear grips everyone and, in the process, justice, rule of law and indeed, our democracy becomes imperiled and potentially shackled and kidnapped by these criminals.
We reiterate and underscore our call and demand to the relevant governments and in particular, the Federal Government of Nigeria (“FGN”) and its security and law enforcement agencies, as contained in the NBA Release of 02 November 2019 and excerpted below, viz:
“The NBA not only condemns in the strongest terms the horrifying and criminal abduction of Honorable Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu, PhD, Justice of the Court of Appeal, but calls more importantly for her immediate release and safe return to all of us. 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. This crime must not end up as part of our crime statistics. 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.”
As an adjunct to our afore-excerpted Release of 02 November 2019, the NBA calls for daily bulletin reports from FGN and other relevant governments and their respective security and law enforcement agencies. We must not carry on as if all is well and nothing has happened. All is definitely not well, amongst others, not with a Justice of our Court of Appeal under criminal captivity. All is definitely not well when we are yet to hear from FGN and its security and law enforcement agencies on this horrific incident almost two weeks into the criminal abduction of Iheme-Nwosu JCA. We demand to hear from FGN and its agencies today. More importantly, we demand the immediate release and safe return of Iheme-Nwosu JCA to her family, the justice sector and all of us. FGN and its security and law enforcement agencies owe us responsibilities in this regard, and we demand the discharge of those responsibilities with speed and openness.
Iheme-Nwosu, was kidnapped two weeks ago along the Benin-Agbor Road, Edo State, by gunmen who also killed her police orderly.