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We hereby call on the federal government to intensify efforts in providing solutions to security challenges in Nigeria, bearing in mind that the primary purpose…

We hereby call on the federal government to intensify efforts in providing solutions to security challenges in Nigeria, bearing in mind that the primary purpose of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens…”  – A press statement issued by Mr. Okey Wali (SAN) on the release of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on the 12th of September, 2013.
The Nigerian Bar Association woke up to the sad news of the kidnapping of her immediate past president, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), around his residence in Port Harcourt, barely two months after handing over the baton of leadership to Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN).
Mr. Okey Wali (SAN) who has contributed his own quota to the development of the country by serving his fatherland through the legal profession is a patriot that needs to be celebrated and not subjected to this kind of horrific experience; the mere thought of it is abhorrent. What this gentleman needs after service to his country is rest; he should be spending quality time with family, not this psychological trauma.
This brings me to the fore, insecurity is a major challenge in Nigeria today. Nigerians go out in search of daily bread and are unsure if they would return home safely or not, all because of fear for the uncertain. If Mr. Okey Wali (SAN) can be kidnapped, what safety is there for a young lawyer?
Even when I discussed this topic with a friend, I was warned not to write anything on the issue to avoid provoking the wrath of the kidnappers. But truth be said, our president cannot be held in captivity for this number of days so far and a young lawyer would remain mute about it.
Nigeria’s image in the international scene is dwindling: from $9.4m arrested at South African airport to low standard of living of the citizenry; this image is now soiled further with news of the kidnap of a national patriot. #ReleaseOkeyWali
At this stage in Nigeria and with the inadequacies in our security, anything can happen to anybody because the system is not working as it should. This was confirmed recently in a speech delivered by the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) at an award event organised by Leadership Newspaper in honour of Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd). Nigeria is still grappling to achieve the visions and dreams of Great Awo 40-something years after.
The effectiveness of the legal profession depends highly on the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Before a citizen would have faith in lawyers, he must first trust the competence and capability of the government, if not the law would be working in vain. Imagine the number of young wigs whose dreams and aspirations have been cut short by the insurgency in the North, this fear of safety has contributed one way or the other in hampering the steady growth of a young lawyer.
Mr. Okey Wali (SAN) still has age on his side to contribute further to the growth of Nigeria, the federal and state governments should please intensify effort towards securing his release. News of his kidnap has helped in instilling fear in the minds of lawyers; young wigs growing in the profession should not be hearing about kidnap of lawyers, not to talk of the past president of the BAR. #ReleaseOkeyWali
This is not to imply that kidnapping persons other than lawyers is okay. It’s not.  While it is understood that unemployment, poverty and the general working environment of Nigeria is not encouraging, kidnapping fellow Nigerians for ransom is not the solution to the problem. All hands need be on deck to salvage our beloved country from sinking further. We should be our brother’s keeper.
The federal government needs do more to improve the various security agencies in the country to curb crime to person and property. Growing up I hardly heard kidnapping making the news, all of sudden it is one kidnap to the other. This is not healthy for Nigeria and Nigerians. For the sake of the country please #ReleaseOkeyWali

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