By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Protest by members of Ekiti chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association over the killing of a lawyer, Adeola Adebayo, by kidnappers, paralysed activities in many courts in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday.
The 33-year-old Adebayo, a former Secretary of Ikole branch of NBA, was kidnapped on November 17 along Efon-Erio-Aramoko Road and taken to an undisclosed location, after which his decomposed body was found on Sunday, December 2 after a ransom had been paid.
They also protested the killing of another member, Mr Adesina Okeya by unknown gunmen, who abducted him, few days after he was called to the bar in Abuja but was later found dead.
Clad in all black attires and carrying different placards with various inscriptions denouncing the killing, they demanded the arrest of the kidnappers.
Some of the placards read: “Stop killing lawyers in Ekiti State,” ”No to killing, No to Kidnapping,” ”We demand the arrest, prosecution, punishment of kidnappers” and ”State Government, Police, Army, do your job.”
The lawyers were led by Chairmen of Ado, Ikere and Ikole NBA branches, Barristers Samuel Falade, Oludayo Olorunfemi and Ibrahim Olanrewaju respectively.
In a petition addressed to Governor Kayode Fayemi, which was submitted to the Police Commissioner, Mr Bello Ahmed and Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Mrs Precious Ihenacho, the lawyers registered their grievances over alleged lackadaisical attitudes displayed by security to the kidnapping.
In the petition presented by Olanrewaju to the trio of Fayemi, CP and DSS Director, the lawyers said: “The purpose of government is to provide security for lives and property and where this is not done, the said government is considered to have failed the electorate and constitution it swore to protect.
“No Nigerian should be subjected to untold economic hardship and still left without security while struggling to make ends meet. As we grieve the loss of our departed member, we use this medium to remind you of your responsibility to citizens and request that all hands must be on deck to forestall reoccurrence in the state.
“The state government is not oblivious to the activities of these deadly killers between Iwaraja and Aramoko Ekiti, but it saddens us that there is an ongoing criminal silence to act despite the sustained kidnapping and killing around the axis.
“We demand immediate deployment of troops to comb the area, arrest and bring to justice those who perpetrated this killing. If this dastardly killing could happen to a Lawyer, what do you think will happen to the ordinary man? We are all endangered species”, it stated.
Addressing newsmen, the Chairman of Ikole-Ekiti Branch of the NBA, Mr Ibrahim Olarewaju, said the victim, Mr Adeola Adebayo, was kidnapped with his family members on November 17 at Erio-Ekiti.
He said the kidnappers released the victim’s family members and held him captive after demanding N100 million ransom.
Olarewaju said the family could only raise N2 million which was paid as ransom to the kidnappers.
He expressed regrets that the deceased, who was the Secretary of the Ikole-Ekiti branch of NBA, was shot in spite of the payment of ransom.
Describing the victim as a vibrant colleague with a promising future, he urged traditional rulers in the area to work with security agencies to fish out the hoodlums.
“The traditional rulers should send their vigilantes, hunters and Neighbourhood Watch members to these bushes to stop the brutal killing of Ekiti residents.
“Enough is enough on this evil killings and kidnappers,” he said.
The Secretary of the Ado-Ekiti branch of the NBA, Mr Temidayo Akeredolu, recalled that the son of a member was also brutally killed on the day he was called to the Bar in Abuja.
He called on government at all levels to make the security of life and property a priority.