Human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome has been kidnapped along Benin-Auchi road in Edo State.
A statement by Abdul Mahmud, President, Public Interest Lawyers League, PILL, in Abuja confirmed the development.
“Last night(Friday), news broke that Mike Ozekhome(SAN) had been kidnapped by unknown persons as he travelled on the now notorious Ehor stretch of the Beni-Auchi motorway. And with the sad news now long confirmed by the Edo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, there has been no indication of his whereabouts or that of his driver who was seized with him.
“Ozekhome (SAN), my former principal and a personal friend, is the suave, outspoken Lagos lawyer whose contributions to constitutional and public laws are well too known; and it is tragic, and if not unheard of, for anyone to have seized him, held him captive against his will. Ozekhome, like many Nigerians who are today held captive by kidnappers everywhere, doesn’t deserve the bestiality of those he has dedicated many years of his outspoken forthrightness to defend, nor does he deserve the mistreatment of gun totting scum who have seized our roads and our country. I call on those holding Ozekhome captive to release him immediately and unconditionally.
The statement said further; “there’s a wider point to be made here. The kidnap of Ozekhome highlights the growing insecurity in Edo state and in our country; and the government and security agencies must live up to their responsibility of securing public safety”
Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo also confirmed the kidnap of Ozekhome.
“I have just received with shock, the news of the kidnap of my learned friend and brother, Chief Mike Ozekhome…,” Festus Keyamo said in a statement, Saturday.
However, he described the incident as “one kidnap too many and it further draws local and international attention to the poor state of security in our country.”
“It also highlights the state of joblessness among youths in our country which is one reason why they turn to this dangerous trade for their livelihood,” he said.
Keyamo therefore appealed to the kidnappers to release Ozekhome, a senior lawyer and staunch critic of corrupt and bad governments in Nigeria.
Police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP a manhunt had been launched for the kidnappers.
“Police are on the trail of the gunmen and we will do everything humanly and operationally possible to ensure that the learned lawyer is released unharmed,” Mba said.