Tuesday, September 17, 2013

‘I died seven times’, says Lawyer abducted while negotiating Ozekhome’s release

The spate of kidnapping in Nigeria and the involvement of youths in
the criminal act have become a source of grave concern. More worrisome
is the fact that abduction is fast becoming more than a trend; it is
now an industry thriving on funds received from the families of
The latest of their victim is popular human rights lawyer and Senior
Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Mike Ozekhome who was abducted on August
23, along the Benin –Auchi express way after a shootout which left
four police men dead.
Following weeks of negotiations for ransom, Ozekhome was finally released.
Strangely Mr. Dominic Ezerioha, a lawyer in Mike Ozekhome's Chambers
was also abducted on September 6, while trying to negotiate the
freedom of his boss. Mr. Ezerioha and Mr. Ozekhome's son, Ilugbekai,
also a lawyer, were both saddled with the responsibility of delivering
the ransom to the kidnappers.
Mr. Ezerioha recounted his ordeal in a chat with Vanguard Metro, VM.
His words: "The situation was very tense; the kidnappers kept calling
me. We tried to negotiate with them and after such negotiations I will
call my contacts who gave me tips on how to negotiate with them. They
(kidnappers) were convinced that I'm close to Mr. Ozekhome and that I
should bring the money. Unfortunately, when we got there, I was
kidnapped because they believed that they could get some money by so
Describing his trauma, Ezerioha narrated thus: "I died seven times and
I woke up. We drove in a Jeep with the ransom to the place where they
directed us to. When we got there, they promptly kidnapped us and
took away the vehicle we came with. They drove us, blindfolded, for
about two and half hours until we arrived at the destination, a
building located right inside a thick forest. That was where we were
Mr. Ezerioha who spoke at Mike Ozekhome's house at Igando in the
Ikotun area of Lagos state, told VM that he was yet to see members of
his family. "I am on my way to the airport now to see my family. When
I get to the airport, I will go to Abuja to see them."
The visibly elated lawyer gave glory to God for making their release
possible. "The atmosphere since our release has been very nice. My
stay with the kidnappers was a very strong omen. We give God the
glory," he said.
Asked to explain his relationship with Mr. Ozekhome he declared:
"Chief Mike Ozekhome is my mentor, my boss and my father. He is a man
of the people; he is a man who touches the lives of people. Even while
the abductors were holding him, he touched their lives. He told them
the right things to do as human beings. He is solidly a nice man".
He threw more light on the negotiation process but could not state
categorically confirm the amount paid as ransom. "When we were there,
a lot of negotiations were going on. As I am talking to you now, I
don't know what happened but I know that ransom was asked and ransom
was paid. But we don't know how much; maybe at our convenient time we
can address the press on it."

No comments:

Post a Comment