Sixteen days after he was abducted by kidnappers, Justice Daniel Okungbowa of the Edo State High Court, has regained his freedom in the early hours of yesterday.
The state high court judge was abducted while on his way to the Ekpoma division of the high court, three weeks after the release of human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The Benin branch of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), had boycotted courts in protest over Okungbowa’s abduction. The protest grounded activities at the state judiciary for over two weeks.
According to the News Agency o Nigeria (NAN), Justice Okungbowa was released at 2a.m. by his abductors.
It was further learnt that his release was delayed due to negotiation between the kidnappers and the family over the ransom demanded. It was not confirmed whether ransom was paid or not.
The Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo, who confirmed his release, said the state high court judge had rejoined his family.
Adebanjo did not give details of how the judge was released. There was jubilation at the Benin City branch of the NBA, when the news came that the judge had been released.
Mr. Sam Abasilim, a member of the NBA, Benin City, also confirmed the release.
Meanwhile, two wives of a prominent Edo businessman and philanthropist, Dr. Iyayi Efianayi, were Sunday morning kidnapped by six armed men on their way to church.
According to ionigeria.com sources, the two women – Mrs. Grace Iyayi, 72, and Mrs. Christiana Iyayi, 65, were abducted by the daredevil hoodlums along Boundary Road near Ogbetuo Avenue junction, GRA, Benin City.
The two elderly women, our sources further revealed were in the same car with another lady in the front passenger seat and a driver. Unknown to them the two vehicles behind them (a Toyota Sienna bus and a Toyota Corolla car) carrying the kidnappers were trailing them.
Immediately they got to Ogbetuo Avenue junction, the Sienna bus overtook and blocked their car while the Corolla was also used to block the car from behind. Four armed men alighted from the two vehicles, pointed their guns at the driver and the lady in the front seat and ordered them to open the doors of the car.
The two elderly ladies were pulled out of their cars into the Sienna bus and they sped away. The Toyota Corolla, which ostensibly must have been stolen for the operation was abandoned.
As at the time of this report, the kidnappers had not made any contact with the victims’ family members. Their phones are also switched off.
Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)