A magistrate sitting at Ihiagwa Magistrate’s Court in Owerri West Local Government of Imo State Mrs. B. U. Adikibe has been kidnapped allegedly for ransom on her way back home after work on 15th March 2017 at Umuagwa axis of Owerri-PortHacourt Road.
The magistrate was reported to have been kidnapped with her driver but reports have it that the driver has been released by the abductors.
However, rumour making the rounds is that the abductors of the magistrate has made contact with the magistrate’s family demanding N2 million for her release.
Reacting to the story, an Owerri-based private practitioner and activist lambasted the Imo State Government for removing security allowance and other emoluments meant for magistrates in Imo State saying it was part of the cause of the saga.
‘The Okorocha Government has no regard for judicial authorities. He is only after his own security and that of his household. I remember that sometime ago, I warned Okorocha’s Government not to slash the emoluments of magistrates in Imo State but the government refused. This is because it is a government that has no regard for rule of law…’
Continuing, Barr Iwuala went down memory lane on how and why security allowances for magistrates in the state came to be.
“Magistrates in Imo State do not have official quarters. Many of them live in villages or are tenants in the town. Some of them live in areas where the people they are handling their cases also live. They handle murder, robbery, kidnapping, cultism and other high profile political and dangerous cases. These and more expose them to high risks. Therefore, in 1994, the military Administration of Navy Commander James Aneke added security and transport allowances to the then salaries of magistrates in Imo State. Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim improved on it.’
He however, called on the Imo State Government to restore security and other allowances for magistrates in the state so as not to destroy justice administration.