On Monday, gunmen kidnapped Okey Wali, the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, killing two of his staff members and injuring three more.
According to a statement from the organization, the former NBA president, a 64-year-old Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was abducted along the East-West Road in the early hours of Monday in the Rivers State local government area of Obio/Akpor.
Yakubu Maikyau, the current president of the NBA, encouraged the police commissioner in Rivers State and the inspector general of police to “leave no stone unturned as they work towards the safe release of our dear learned friend.”
Maikyau recalled that Wali, who served as the 26th NBA president between 2012 and 2014, “has served this nation in varying capacities, contributing immensely to the growth of legal practice and in the promotion and entrenchment of the rule of law.”
He described his predecessor, a Port Harcourt-based lawyer, as “a known philanthropist who has helped in the development of his community in no small measure”.
Wali’s abduction is coming a second time after unknown gunmen seized and held him for a few days in October 2014.
The NBA President’s statement reads, “It has come to my attention that one of our respected elders and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Okey Wali, SAN was reportedly abducted in the early hours of yesterday, after his convoy was attacked along East–West Road, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“Mr Okey Wali, SAN was the 26th President of the NBA and has served this nation in varying capacities, contributing immensely to the growth of legal practice and in the promotion and entrenchment of the rule of law. He is a known philanthropist who has helped in the development of his community in no small measure.
“I, therefore, hereby plead with the abductors not to harm Mr Wali, SAN and make a passionate appeal for his release to his family. The NBA stands with and assures his family of our full support in this trying period, even as we join in praying for his safe return home.
“This ugly incident is yet another sad reminder of the weakness in our security system and the failure of successive governments to live up to the Constitutional duty of providing for the welfare and security of all Nigerians.
“We urge the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, to leave no stone unturned as they work towards the safe release of our dear learned friend.”