*Condemn Murder Of Customary Court Judge By Unknown Gunmen,
*Say Government And Security Agencies Must Provide Adequate Security Across Courts In The State

The branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Imo State have collectively condemned in strong terms the murder of a judicial officer, His Worship, Nnaemeka Ugboma Esq., on the 2nd of February, 2023 in open court.

In a statement signed by the Chairmen of the five NBA branches in the state, they berated the increasing state of insecurity in the state and the vulnerability of judicial officers and legal practitioners to attacks.

The statement reads in part;

“The Branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Imo State deplore the cold blooded murder of a judicial officer, His Worship Nnaemeka Ugboma, Esq., who was shot point blank in Court by yet to be identified gun men on the 2nd of February, 2023.

On receipt of the news, the Owerri Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association promptly engaged lawyers within the affected jurisdiction as well as staff of the affected court, who confirmed the incident. We also convened an emergency meeting and further contacted the heads of the judiciary, particularly the Chief Judge of Imo State and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Imo State.

The Commissioner of Police, Imo State, has also received a request from us for an immediate and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the unfortunate incident and to ensure that the culprits are apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law.”

It continued, “The Imo Bar notes with deep concern that the attacks on judicial institutions have become a disturbing trend in Imo State, and has taken an unfortunate turn by the murder of Mr. Ugboma.”

They branch Chairmen also lamented the corollary effect of attacks of this magnitude on public confidence in the judiciary, and worried that anarchy may be the outcome of an erosion of public confidence in the state judiciary.

“This dastardly act is highly condemnable as it desecrates the temple of justice and undermines the confidence of the citizens in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.

The Bar therefore calls on the Imo State Government to provide, with immediate effect, security in and around all the courts in Imo State, which have remained porous despite the sensitive role they play in the society.”

The Imo Bar stated that in consonance with the national body of the NBA, ably led by Y.C. Maikyau, OON, SAN, they firmly resists the attempt to undermine the judiciary and the legal profession, and instill fear in the conduct of judicial proceedings. They added that citizens need to be aware that judicial officers and lawyers are not their enemies or opponents; they only aid in the administration of justice.

Furthermore, they resolved to boycott all courts in Imo State from the 6th to 8th of February, 2023 to express their displeasure over the ugly trend in the state.

“In the circumstance, the members of the NBA in Imo State have resolved to boycott all courts in Imo State, starting from Monday 6th February 2023 to Wednesday 8th February 2023, in order to register our displeasure with the current state of affairs.

Until the members of the Bar in Imo State are sufficiently assured of the safety of the judiciary, the Bar and the litigants as requested, we shall continue to review the situation and to take further necessary actions.”

The statement was signed by:

Chairman, NBA Owerri Branch. Chairman, NBA Orlu Branch Chairman, NBA Mbaise Branch Chairman, NBA Okigwe *Branch Chairman, NBA Mbano/Etiti Branch

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