Nigerian Bar Association, Pat Utomi React, Protest Oyibo Chukwu’s Murder

Judges and lawyers from five branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Enugu State, boycotted court sittings on Thursday, giving security operatives in the State 48 hours to fish out sponsors and killers of former chairman and  Labour Party candidate for Enugu East Senatorial District, Oyibo Chukwu.

Information Nigeria had earlier reported that gunmen suspected to be political thugs on Wednesday night shot, killed and burnt Chukwu, along side five of his supporters in a white Hilux vehicle in Eke-Otu Amechi-Awkunanaw, Enugu.

Demonstrating anger over the assassination of the lawyer, the five chapters of the Nigerian Bar Association gave security operatives in the State 48 hours to fish out the murderers or face legal action.

Seth Nwokolo, the chairman of the NBA’s Oji River Branch, at the courthouse in Enugu, told reporters that the move was taken to put pressure on the government and security services to track down the killers of the lawyer and to make sure that human lives were adequately protected.

According to him, the killing was carried out for political reasons. He voiced worry that Enugu was gradually reverting to the time of terror.

“We are here to protest over the gruesome killing of our former chairman, Elder Oyibo Chukwu. Chukwu was also the candidate for Labour Party in Enugu East Senatorial District.

“Elder Oyibo Chukwu, whom we are talking about his death was chairman of Oji River Branch between 2017 to 2019.

“Just this morning, the news filtered in that he was gruesomely murdered and assassinated in the company of his followers around Obeagu-Amaechi Road. We are pained by this news and we want the security agencies in Enugu State to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to book.

“We are giving them 48 hours to ensure that the killers are brought to justice. The bar in Enugu State is very embittered by this development. If after 48 hours, nothing happens, we will take a very necessary step as lawyers.

“Already, we have started with boycotting court proceedings in all the courts in Enugu State. Those who were not aware of our decision rose immediately after the information got to them because an injury to one is an injury to all,” Nwokolo said.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill LP Senatorial Candidate, Supporters In Enugu

Pat Utomi, the convener of BIG-TENT, a coalition of Political Parties, Social Movements and Civil Society Organisations for Peter Obi-Datti, while reacting to the killing of the Labour Party senatorial candidate, insisted that Nigeria has made politics too attractive for criminally minded people.

Speaking on Arise Television’s Morning Show on Thursday, he said the Nigerian states had become almost a criminal enterprise.

He said: “We have made politics too attractive for criminally minded people, and so the Nigerian states have become almost a criminal enterprise.

“The most criminal-minded are the ones who are likely to grab power in the way Nigeria is configured.

“What do you do when that perception goes into global thinking that those who run Nigeria are criminals?”

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has hinted that it will likely postpone Enugu East senatorial election by two weeks over the alleged murder of Labour Party (LP) senatorial candidate, Oyibo Chukwu.

Citing Section 34 of the Electoral Act, chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said that such postponement and relevant section of the Electoral Act can only be activated if the political party involved officially notifies the commission.

The electoral umpire boss said: “there are procedures to handling such issue. In such situation, the commission will have to countermind the senatorial district for two weeks. The section can 9nly be activated if the party involved officially notifies the commission.”

Section 34(b) stipulates that in the case of election into a legislative House, the election shall start afresh and the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue to participate in the election, conduct a fresh primary within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit the name of a new candidate to the Commission to replace the dead candidate:

“Provided that in the case of presidential or gubernatorial or Federal Capital Territory Area Council election, the running mate shall continue with the election and nominate a new running mate,” the section read.