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Delta Chief Judge Vow To Bring To Book Killers Of Lawyer

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

The Chief Judge of Delta state, Justice Marshal Umukoro, has vowed to bring to justice those behind the gruesome murder of Barrister Kennedy Nwashindi Ofuezuem Anni.

Justice Umukoro made the declaration at the valedictory special court session in honour of Barr. Anni, an Asaba based Legal Practitioner who was adopted on the 16th of April, 2019 and subsequently murdered by his abductors after paying the demanded ransom.

The Chief Judge who was represented by Justice T. O. Diai condemned in strongest terms the gruesome murder of the late Legal Practitioner, saying that the murder of Barr. Anni, has brought to the front burner of national discourse the heinous crime of kidnapping and murder, which has assumed a terrifying resurgence and dimensions in recent times.

He observed: "The mounting appetite of our youth for these crimes is alarming and it is not unconnected with the get-rich-quick syndrome that has become so pervasive in our society today.

"The syndrome has lamentably infiltrated our families, our educational system, our state institutions, the corridors of power and even our churches and mosques," he said.

The number one Judicial Officer who called for a state of emergency against get-rich-quick syndrome, described late Barrister Ofuezuem as an achiever who enjoyed illustrious career as a legal practitioner and religious minister despite his abrupt departure.

The Chief Judge disclosed that the Judiciary was not resting on its oars in tackling the menace of rising crime in the society, as it has facilitated criminal justice reforms.

According to him, some of the initiatives taken by Judiciary towards a more effective and efficient criminal justice system in the state included creation of additional Criminal Divisions of the state High Court, deliberate effort to implement sections 251, 252 and 254 of the Delta State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2017 ( ACJ ), providing for witness claims, and granting special administrative permission to Police and Department of State Services to file affidavits and processes pertaining to criminal cases being investigated or prosecuted without need to pay filing fees out of their own pocket.

The Solicitor General and functioning permanent secretary Ministry of Justice, Mr. N.D.F. Momah, Chike Onyemenam Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and chairman Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Asaba branch, Barrister Freddie Eruli-Ede paid glowing tribute to the Late Ofuezuem, describing him as honest, reliable legal practitioner and perfect gentleman.

They charged security agents to beef up security in the state, and arrest and prosecute perpetrators of the dastard act even as they noted that there was nexus between corruption, unemployment, poverty and crime.

Judges, members of the Nigerian Bar Association, legislators including the member representing Oshimili North Constituency in State House of Assembly, Honourable Princess Pat Ajudua were sympathizers present to pay last respect to the deceased.