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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Gunmen kidnap Mike Ozekhome in Edo •Kill 4 policemen

 FOUR policemen were feared killed on Friday in Edo State after a gun duel that ensued between policemen and armed men, who abducted foremost human rights lawyer and social critic, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.  According to the Edo State Police Commissioner, Foluso Adebanjo, Ozekhome was kidnapped along with his driver at the Ehor end of the Benin-Auchi expressway at about 3:30 pm.  Providing details of how Ozekhome was abducted, Adebanjo said that operatives of the state police command, led by the DPO of Ehor Division, responded swiftly to a distress call at about 3:30pm that an unspecified number of armed men had blocked the Benin-Auchi expressway along Ehor axis but that the armed men ambushed the police patrol vehicle and opened fire on the policemen.  Adebanjo said after a thorough search conducted on the abandoned vehicle of the kidnapped victims, they were convinced that the abducted persons were Chief Ozekhome and his driver, noting that some of the kidnappers
escaped with gun wounds.  He added, “regrettably, the command lost four officers in the encounter. We salute their rare courage and bravery. They fought and died as heroes for the cause of humanity. Their death shall not be in vain. We remain undeterred in our fight against armed banditry.”  Speaking with journalists on phone, the Force Public Relations Officers (FPRO), Frank Mba, told journalists that the Inspector General of Police, M.D. Abubakar has directed the Commissioner of Police to commence an immediate and vigorous manhunt for the hoodlums, who must be arrested and brought to justice, and the kidnapped victims rescued.    “We therefore, once again, call on the general public not to relent in their partnership with the police to fish out the criminals as they are common enemy to our society and report anyone found with bullet wounds to the nearest police station”, Mba appealed.  The kidnap of the eminent lawyer has brought to about 10 people abducted in Edo State in the last two months, including five female teachers and three children.  The Edo State Police Command had on Friday paraded three suspected kidnappers who allegedly abducted three primary school teachers in the state on July 30.  Meanwhile, Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has pleaded with the kidnappers to release the lawyer, noting that incident has drawn local and international attention to the poor state of security in the country.  “This is 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.  “I want to personally appeal to the kidnappers or their sponsors (if any), to kindly consider that Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN has a family that rely on him, both nuclear and extended, and even other dependants in the society. I also appeal to them not to harm him in anyway. In the name of God that we all serve, they should please release him to re-unite with his family.”
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