Lawyers embark on court boycott over death of kidnapped colleague

Lawyers in Anambra, under the aegis of Committee of Chairmen and Secretaries of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), have announced that they will stay away from courts in the state between March 22 and March 24.

The lawyers, who staged a protest in Awka on Monday, said the court boycott was to mourn their colleague, Mr Frank Onwuachi, who died in the hands of kidnappers and draw government’s attention to the rising insecurity in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onwuachi was also the President-General of Omor community in Anyamelum Local Government area of the state as at the time of his abduction and eventual death. The lawyers expressed fears that with the rising spate of killings in the state, no one was safe.

Until his murder by suspected herdsmen, Onwuachu was the president general of Omor community in Ayamelum local government area of the state. The protest by the lawyers and subsequent boycott paralyzed activities at the various courts in the state, forcing the judges and magistrates to adjourn sittings.

The lawyers, who dressed in their official attire, took off from the High Court complex and marched through the major streets in Awka and later converged at the Government House where they chanted songs to condemn the development. A statement signed by the eight branch chairmen of NBA in the state, which was made available to reporters read: “The committee of chairmen and secretaries of the Nigeria Bar Association branches in Anambra State bemoans the worsening security situation in Anambra State and calls on the federal government, Anambra State government and heads of security agencies to wake up and be alive to their responsibilities of protecting lives and property of the citizens.

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The committee notes that the security situation in Anambra State is highly tensed up and frightening to say the least. “Recently, there had been cases of kidnap and gruesome murder/killing of innocent citizens and security personnel in the state and nothing is being done to curb this frightening security challenges in the state.

Just last week Friday, a lawyer, Bar Frank Onwuachu, who is also the President General of Omor in Ayamelum LGA of Anambra State was kidnapped along Ezu River/Anaku road and gruesomely murdered the following day by his captors. “On19/3/2021, two prison officers were killed at Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA and this is barely 24 hours after Naval officers and policemen were killed at Awkuzu and Neni respectively. “Also, a Naval outpost close to Bridgehead, Onitsha, was attacked sometime last week, resulting to the killing of some Naval officers and their weapons carted away.

“The committee urgently calls on the state government to, as a matter of urgency, summon a meeting of various security agencies in the state to address this worrisome security situation and tackle it headlong. “Failure by the state government to act immediately may lead to a descent to anarchy. “We all cannot continue to downplay the security situation or pretend that all is well. The time to act is now.” The lawyers condoled with the family and NBA Otuocha branch, where the late Onwuachi belonged, as well as the families of all security personnel killed by unknown gunmen during the attacks in parts of Anambra State.

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