Abducted Akwa Ibom judge, driver regain freedom

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The Akwa Ibom State High Court judge, Justice Joy Unwana, and her driver, Idorinyin Ekanem, who were both abducted by gunmen have regained their freedom after spending five days in the kidnapers’ den.

Justice Unwana and her driver were kidnapped on Monday, December 18, 2023, while returning to Uyo after a court session in Oron Local Government Area of the state.

Her police orderly, ThankGod Ekanem, was killed in the incident that occurred around 8 pm along the Okobo-Esuk Inwang-Ndon Ebom Road.

In solidarity, different branches of the Nigerian Bar Association, especially the Oron branch where Justice Unwana works as a judge, protested over the incident and shut down the activities of the court.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, who announced her release in a statement on Saturday, said Governor Umo Eno, while receiving the freed judge at the Government House, Uyo, thanked God for ensuring her safe return and thanked the security agencies for their swift response and commitment to duty.

The governor, who regretted the trauma Jstice Unwana must have gone through while in captivity, reassured all of his government’s commitment towards bringing the perpetrators to book.

The statement reads in part “The Judge of the Akwa Ibom State Judiciary, Justice Joy Unwana, who was abducted Monday night has regained her freedom.

“Receiving the freed judge at the Government House Uyo, the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, thanked God for her safe release while appreciating security agencies for their swift response and commitment to duty.

“He further assured citizens that the state under his watch would never be a haven for criminals, charging security operatives to double their surveillance.

“The governor, specifically, appreciated the Ministry of Internal Security for their strategic coordination and use of local intelligence in the handling of security issues.”

In her response, Justice Unwana appreciated the governor for his concern and efforts at rescuing her from her abductors.

She recounted her ordeal in their hands, praying that no one should face such a terrible experience.

Justice Unwana and her driver are currently being debriefed and receiving medical attention.