Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince John Mayaki, has condemned reported kidnap of an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, and the killing of her orderly, by armed gunmen.
Justice Nwosu-Iheme was kidnapped on her way to court in Benin City; Edo State Commissioner of Police, Dan-Mallam Mohammed, who confirmed the incident said a manhunt was ongoing to rescue the judge and apprehend the criminals.
While responding to the development, Mayaki described it as another avoidable sad incident and further indication of the security challenges in Edo State.
“Security is at its lowest level ever in the history of Edo State. Today, families in Edo State are made to bear unimaginable pain as a result of senseless criminal attacks including kidnappings, killings, and violence.
“Not long ago, the state was thrown into a state of confusion over similar kidnap of Prof. Sylvanus Okogbenin of Irrua Specialist Hospital even though he was traveling within Benin City, in broad daylight, with a retinue of attached police officers, some of whom were killed. His release was secured after a reported payment of ransom.
“Since the state government’s empty promise, a metaphor for the entire stay in office, more citizens have been kidnapped and killed. Other residents, irrespective of status, are now afraid to move around or conduct businesses for fear of being kidnapped or attacked.
“Worse still, instead of curbing this ugly development, government seems to be directly compounding the problem with association with notorious thugs and tacit encouragement of violence just to further a selfish political ambition,” he said.
Mayaki recounted incidences where political allies of the government vowed to visit any voice of opposition to the governor’s second term bid with violence and bloodletting to the governor’s hearing with no words of reprimand or condemnation.
“Without a doubt, government has sanctioned violent repression of political opponents in Edo State and this sad development has triggered a cascade of events contributing to the larger insecurity witnessed in the state.
“When the highest body in the state turns a blind eye to the brutal assault of citizens because of their political choices, other criminals take a cue and participate in the free for all,” he said.
Mayaki also queried the effectiveness of the pseudo-state police, noting: “Government established ‘Operation Wabazigan’ and got the illegal Assembly to approve huge sums for it from the state treasury.
“However, in spite of this, security in Edo State has grown worse because funds meant for this security outfit were mismanaged and diverted, with the hired officers used principally for the intimidation of political opponents,” he alleged.