The Imo Police Command has confirmed Thursday’s killing of a Customary Court Judge, Mr Nnaemeka Ugboma, while presiding over a matter.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Henry Okoye, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri on Friday.
Okoye said that the incident happened at Ejemekwuru, under Obudi-Agwa Division, in Oguta Local Government Area of the state.
He said that the command had commenced a manhunt for the assaillants.
“We have commenced investigation to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act in order to bring them to justice,” he said.
A reliable source told NAN on the condition of anonymity that the gunmen came into the courtroom, dragged him out and shot him in the head and zoomed off.
“He was just about to rise for the day when the incident occurred,” the source further said.
NAN learnt that some soldiers rushed down to the scene and took the victim to the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, where he was reportedly confirmed dead by a doctor.
The source further said that the attackers went to the place in a commercial minibus.
NAN reports that the manner of the gruesome murder of the 55-year-old Customary Court Chairman has introduced a new dimension to the complex security challenge in the state.
It further raised more concerns about the precarious security situation in the state.
NAN recalls that on Jan. 24, gunmen attacked and killed Christian Ihim, the APC Chairman in Umuchoke ward in Okwe, Onuimo Local Government Area of the state.
The attackers reportedly also kidnapped five other chieftains of the party in the community.
Earlier on Jan. 19, gunmen attacked and kidnapped the Sole Administrator of Ideato North Local Government Area, Christopher Ohizu.
Ohizu, who was kidnapped in his residence in Arondizuogu, alongside two others, also had his building and vehicles, razed down by the gunmen.
Also, on Dec. 15, 2022, the Labour Party candidate for Onuimo State Constituency, Christopher Elehu, was killed after the gunmen set his Okwe country home ablaze.
A fortnight ago, gunmen attacked a Police check point at Ihitte Junction on Owerri-Aba Road, Owerri, killing a female police sergeant, Chinyere Obialor, during a gun duel.
Meanwhile, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Ugochukwu Alinnor, has described the killing as “unjustified and alien to us as a people.
“It is to say the least, insane.
“These are desperate times and desperate measures must be taken,” Alinnor stated.
Also, the state Secretary of the association, Mr Chukwurah Onuorah, condemned the incident, describing the murder of Ugboma as the height of insecurity in the state.
Onuorah said: “A court is a place we consider as sacred, same way we consider the Church or temple.
“A person who presides over in the court is a priest and the person is there to render justice.
“Someone who was out to render justice now met with injustice because of the poor system in the country.”