South South — Jurist abandons sitting for fear of being abducted, How kidnappers hunt for judges
A suspected kidnap syndicate in Delta State, allegedly with police officers as members, is presently the subject of top-secret investigations by security agencies, both in the state and Abuja. The syndicate allegedly specialised in intimidating and collecting ransom from High Court judges and other prominent citizens in the state.
Already, two police officers – an orderly to a serving judge, Justice Flora Azinge of the Otor-Udu High Court, Otor-Udu, who was asked to pay N20 million ransom by the kidnap gang and another police officer that came to collect ransom that was planted by soldiers – have been arrested and detained.
Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, confirmed that the two police officers were indeed arrested in connection with the demand for ransom from Justice Azinge.
His words, “Yes, that is true. The policemen are being detained in the Criminal Investigations Department, CID, Asaba; and we are carrying out discreet investigations on the matter. If they are found culpable, they will definitely be dealt with”.
The embattled judge, Azinge, has shunned sitting for nearly two months running because of the serious threat to her life by the kidnap syndicate, which vowed that they would get her by all means, as well as the discovery that the police orderly, officially deployed to protect her, was a member of the syndicate.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that, but for the intervention of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, it would have been difficult to record the progress made so far in the investigations.
Investigations by Sunday Vanguard showed that fear has gripped judges in the state following the incident.
On Wednesday, November 21, a judge of the High Court in Obiaruku, Justice Obi, narrowly escaped what appeared to be a kidnap incident on his way to work.
“The suspected kidnappers eventually took away his vehicle. This made another High Court at Effurun to rise early Wednesday. I think government needs to do something urgently about security of judges in the state”, our source stated.
It was learnt that Justice Obi, who resides in Effurun, was on his way to resume work at about 8.00 a.m., Wednesday, when he was ambushed by the kidnappers.