EBERE WABARA [email protected] 08055001948
ON March 28, 2014, the former governor of Abia State, Mr. Theodore Ahamefule Orji, masterminded my near-fatal abduction by a combination of Abia and Lagos policemen numbering 17. What was my offence? I wrote six critical articles about him, his worst administration and most tepid government ever in the political history of Nigeria.
The man that midwifed and nurtured the gruesome plot was one Barrister James Opara who used his rickety Nissan Pathfinder, LSD 205 BL, to move me around handcuffed from one police station in Lagos to another before transferring, like a human cargo, me to an awaiting Abia Line commercial bus at Jibowu en route to Umuahia CID, where I was clamped into a cubicle— a dungeon properly called— inhabiting all manner of hardened criminals shortly after midnight!
Opara’s role in the completely primitive saga was not hidden even to the blind! The passion with which he coordinated my kidnap is confirmatory that with little motivation men could move mountains! The passion exhibited by James Opara in the bestial abduction is antithetical to existential humanism. Little wonder some people perceive a few lawyers as being more criminal than criminals themselves are! It is an irony that those who domesticate and survive on law are the ones who break it the most.
Just days before I was abducted this day in 2014, I had been invited to Protea Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, to meet with a prospective Abuja-based client and budding politician in the South East who I will assist with media aspect of his electioneering.
For me such a bait will not work as I rebuffed the potential kidnappers just finding a way to make their scheme hitchfree and clinical. I suspect that those repeated calls came from this James Opara. The mistake I made was not writing down the GSM number used for the dastardly experiment, which was attributable to my nonchalance to such childish pranks.
It should interest my kidnappers of yore and their benefactors that there is hardly any good hotel in this country that I have not lodged in because of the exigencies of my office and other private engagements.
Therefore, I cannot be cajoled, enticed or lured by dropping the name of an elitist hotel. Such duplicitous antics cannot sway a person like me. For a green horn, it may have an attraction,
For me it is sheer cruelty that in this era of kidnapping, the Nigeria Police will be acceding to a governor’s megalomaniac desire of having an innocent journalist abducted. Is it that the governor’s police accomplices, too, do not know that such descent to brutishness diminishes the actors. The thing to have done by my accusers was to approach the court and the rest would follow without wasting taxpayers’ money laying siege from Umuahia to Lagos to me.
Despite the intervention of the former IGP, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, which made my release possible on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 10.15 p.m., the cops in Umuahia wanted me to report to them the following Monday pursuant to my being dragged to a kangaroo magistrate’s court for the perfection of the shceme to jail me at all costs in justification of the dollarized lolly from the ex-governor.
Unfortunately, for them, their callous desires could not be achieved as God was ahead of them for me!
It is interesting to note that all editors at home and abroad were scandalized by the action of the police and their paymaster, just as most senior lawyers were flabbergasted by the fact that such an autocratic thing could happen in our democracy. If it were during the colonial era that this event took place, nobody would have raised eyebrows for the colonial masters needed such an instrumentality to surpress the revolting class.
According to an international lawyer, Mr. Ephraim Emeka Ugwunonye, “what happened to Mr.Wabara is an outrage, which has jarred the nerves and affronted the susceptibilities of all Nigerians who had expected that such wanton and unbridled dictatorship and rapacious abuse of power would not have a place in democracy and in a country presumed to be under the rule of law.”
It is apposite to mention at this point the frivolous and ridiculous 10-count charge preferred against me in spite of my hospitalization in a private hospital adjacent to my home. If the police were so diligent, we would not be having a swell of banditry and other violent criminalities.
I would never have believed that the Abia Command of the Nigeria Police and the law/legal officers in Umuahia do not know that the law of sedition had died a long time ago.
When those who are supposed to be the custodians of law do not even know the basic things concerning the law, then we heading for Armaggedon presently! When you are blinded by bloody peanuts and bloodied gratification nothing else counts!
In pursuit of the enforcement of my rights, I sued the former IGP and the Abia State Attorney-General at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. Because my counsel, the late Bamidele Aturu, did not believe in such sacrificial payments, he did not ask for damages. He was only interested in establishing the fact that the police, the Abia AG and the former governor of Abia State erred in law and should be reprimanded, which Justice Okon Abang did in very lucid and unambiguous ruling.
Next week, we shall conclude these reflections by doing a summation of the court proceedings and the judgment and other related matters in the abduction incivility vis-à-vis further deleterious roles of James Opara and his co-travellers.