By Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Even as security agencies were still celebrating the arrest on Wednesday of the mastermind of the abduction of human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, kidnappers have struck again in Benin, this time whisking away a High Court judge, Justice Daniel Iyoboea Okungbowa.
Details of the judge’s abduction were still sketchy as at the time of filing this report but it was learnt that he was kidnapped in Ekpoma, on the Benin/Auchi road, not far from where Ozekhome was abducted weeks ago.
The judge was said to have been travelling to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, when he was kidnapped.
The kidnap of Justice Okungbowa has led to protests by lawyers and judicial officers in Benin who downed tools and refused to attend to cases in courts.
Many of them converged at the the Edo State Police Command in Benin where the state chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Oriene Akhere, told newsmen that lawyers had come to protest the abduction of the judge.
Akhere said the rising incidence of kidnapping in the state was worrisome, adding that if a judge could be kidnapped then no one can claim to be safe. He called on police authorities in the state and at the headquarters in Abuja to do everything possible to ensure that the judge was released without harm.
Addressing the protesting lawyers, the command’s public relations officer, Moss Eguavoen, assured that everything would be done to effect the judge’s release
When contacted by journalists to confirm the incident, Foluso Adebanjo, said the matter had been reported to the police as a case of missing person, not abduction.
Justice Okungbowa’s kidnappers have communicated with his family or demanded any ransom as at the time of filing this report