The Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, Justice Rita Pemu on Tuesday revealed her experience in the hands of kidnappers along the notorious Azia-Orsumoghu-Ihiala road in Anambra State.
The judge was kidnapped on Sunday the 20th day of February, 2022, while travelling to Owerri from Benin City, at about 11am.
The road has been a major flashpoint for all manner of criminal activities including kidnapping and killings, allegedly perpetrated by unknown gunmen.
Many videos have also surfaced online, warning travellers to avoid the route, as it was alleged that members of Eastern Security Network, ESN, were having a bloody face-off with men of the Nigerian Security Forces, with many already feared dead.
Speaking after he in the company of the Chairman of the Owerri Bar, Barr. J.I. Ogamba paid a visit to the Court of Appeal Judge, the Secretary of the Bar, Chinedu Agu said they gathered that the kidnappers double-crossed the Judge’s vehicle at a speed break, disembarked her and ordered her to lie prostrate on the road, while pointing guns menacingly on her head.
“Hon. Justice Pemu, who by happenstance was rather in her Hiace Bus instead of her SUV and was dressed in a simple, spartan and free-flowing gown, was mistaken by the kidnappers as one of “oga’s stewards,” as they kept demanding to know in which car their “oga” was.
“While she was matched into a thick forest, one of the kidnappers was boasting that he would have wasted their ‘oga’ if he was there.
“As his Lordship was matched into the bush like a death-destined sheep to the slaughter, gunshots and concomitant cries of anguish pervaded the bush, which heightened her apprehension.
“As the kidnappers backed out for his Lordship to continue the Golgotha walk into the depth of the bush, where perhaps she would face the doomed fate of others, she detoured and took safety elsewhere, and was hurried back to Orlu town in disguise from where she found her way into Owerri,” Barr Agu narrated.
He revealed that up till now, the judge’s official cars, her driver, her personal property inside the car, were yet to be found.
“As we condemn the spate of kidnapping and unsettling height of insecurity in the State, we thank God for the life of Hon. Justice Rita Pemu,” he concluded.