Dear Sir/Ma,

1. Barely a week ago,
precisely on Sunday, 04 November 2018, hoodlums rained bullet shots at the car
of the past Chairman of Auchi Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”),
Mr. A A Atemoagbo, along Auchi-Benin Road, near Ehor, in Edo State, in an
attempt to halt him.  Mr. Atemoagbo survived the attack, albeit with
injuries and greatly traumatized, but not so, his wife, Joan, who was killed by
the assassins’ bullets.  Mr. Atemoagbo was returning from a Convention of
the Jehovah’s Witnesses that held in Benin and, in his Honda CRV car were his
wife, their young child and one other passenger.  Mr. Atemoagbo’s car was
indeed stopped by the hoodlums and he was kidnapped and only released days
later after the payment of the specified ransom amount.

2. This very unfortunate and
depressing incident which, sadly, is not isolated, highlights two critical
issues, both related to security of lives and property in our land. 
First, how come criminals find it so easy to acquire firearms and ammunition in
our country?  What happened to the enforcement of the law prohibiting
unlicensed possession of firearms?  How come we’ve not heard of any
crackdown by the security agencies on illegal ownership and/or possession of
firearms or isn’t it obvious that there’s unbridled ownership and possession of
guns by all shades of criminals, giving rise to the runaway insecurity to lives
and property in Nigeria?  How come governments, at the different levels,
are not carrying out consistent and concerted campaigns against illegal
ownership and possession of firearms? Why is there no concerted effort at
stemming this unseemly situation?  

3. It needs be mentioned
that the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in Nigeria gives the
impression that governments and their security agencies are very complacent in
their approach to these security and safety challenges.  What would it
take to wake up governments at all levels and the security agencies to their
respective responsibilities in this regard?  Perhaps, Joan Atemoagbo
would’ve been alive and with us today if governments and their security
agencies had taken their respective responsibilities seriously and cracked down
on proliferation of arms and ammunitions.  It’s not too late to start that
crackdown now and we urge the various governments to do so before another life is

4. Second and on a related
note, we understand that the location where the Atemoagbos were attacked, along
Benin-Auchi Road, close to Ehor, in Edo State, is notorious for such criminal
and deadly attacks.  Indeed, we understand that an Edo State Local
Government Chairman was attacked and killed at that same spot in 2017. 
Mr. Atemoagbo also tells us that, while in captivity, he noticed that the
kidnappers’ business was truly booming.  Indeed, as he was entering his
captivity, some others were being released from the den upon the payment of the
demanded ransom and he was replacing them.  As he was also being released,
after payment of the ransom amount, some other victims were replacing and
taking his place. 

5. How come such organized
criminal rings and gangs operate brazenly without hindrance and with such
freedom and effrontery? What happened to the intelligence capabilities of our
security agencies?  Have the criminals developed strategies and operating
modus that are seemingly superior to those of our intelligence and security
agencies, thereby making the criminals invincible and, perhaps,

6. We deeply mourn the
untimely death of Joan Atemoagbo and condole with the Atemoagbos and indeed,
the executive and members of our Auchi Branch.  We sincerely hope and pray
that the gruesome murder of this innocent woman who was returning from a place
of worship, would not go unpunished.  We pray that Joan’s death pricks the
conscience of our various governments and their law enforcement and security
agencies sufficient to galvanize them into actions that would secure lives and
property in the land.  In particular, we call on the security agencies to
bring to book the murderers of Joan Atemoagbo while also rounding up and
bringing to justice the criminal gang(s) of kidnappers and murderers that
operate along the Benin-Auchi Road.

Paul Usoro, SAN