#RevolutionNow: NBA, others condemn court’s invasion by DSS
• NBA calls for removal of DDD boss • Law enforcement officials not above the law - NHRC insists
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said it was greatly dismayed at the exhibition of primitivity, thuggery, insane passion for lawlessness, contempt and disrespect for the rule of law by the agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the Federal High Court, Abuja while attempting to re-arrest the convener of the #RevilutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare.
The NBA, in a statement late yesterday lamented that Sowore and his co-defendant were re-arrested by the DSS in spite of being on bail granted by the Court.
The association described the action of the DSS as disgraceful and crass violation of the hallowed precincts of the law, adding that, “The NBA finds it disgraceful that this ‘court riot’ occasioned by the high handedness and insensitivity of the security operatives interrupted judicial proceedings and made the Presiding Judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu to abandon judicial proceedings because of safety concerns”.
While condemning the action, the umbrella body of lawyers in the country, stated in the statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Odun said the action of the DSS is another in the series of impunity and lawlessness exhibited by the security agency.
It added that the invasion of the court by the agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria runs contrary to the avowed assurances of President Muhammadu Buhari that he will ensure that the Federal Government and agencies under it obey court orders.
The NBA urged all Nigerians to be alive to their responsibilities as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is ready to partner with all Nigerians and civil society organisations to ensure that the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended are not trampled upon by any agency of government.
To this end, the NBA called for the immediate investigation of the shameful conduct by the DSS and ensure that all persons found culpable are duly punished in accordance with the law as well as the immediate suspension of the Director-General of the DSS from office.
“We make this demand bearing in mind the fact that the DSS under his leadership has established itself as a brutish and irresponsible agency that derives immense pleasure from violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and disrespecting court orders.
The association also called on the National Assembly to review the laws setting up the DSS and indeed all security agencies in Nigeria with a view to repositioning them to be more responsible and responsive to the public.
“That the Attorney General of the Federation, being the Chief Law officer of the Federation takes over all the political cases or cases involving politically exposed persons presently handled by the DSS”.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in its reaction, reiterated the need for law enforcement officials to be law-abiding and not be above the law.
The Commission said security officials are paid with taxpayers money and as, such, there is no room for impunity and utter disregard for the constitution.
“Our democracy is founded on the principle of separation of powers and all citizens, including law enforcement officials, must understand the implications of that and are enjoined to respect the law and the constitution in the enforcement of the law”.
Accordingly, the Commission directs all the relevant agencies of government to arrest and try all law enforcement officers involved in the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the federal high court Abuja on Friday 6th Dec 2019 for contempt in the face of the court.
“They should be tried to serve as a reminder to all law enforcement agents that they must obey the law in carrying out their law enforcement duties”.
Also in his reaction, a constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said the nation’s secret Service, DSS danced naked in the streets, when it invaded a court of Law in an attempt to arrest Sowore, accused of treasonable felony over his “Revolution Now” mantra.
The senior lawyer said, it was a show of extreme shame, disgust and degeneracy to see a whole secrete security descend to the abysmal gutters of physically invading the hallowed chambers of a court of Law to forcefully arrest a suspect, by resort to crude and unorthodox Hitlerite Gestapo tactics in a supposed constitutional democracy.
Ozekhome said, when a government that is supposed to respect and protect institutions, citizens’ rights and rule of law, invades and desecrates the sacred precincts of a Court of law, then the country in trouble.
When the same DSS invaded Judges’ homes in October 2016, terrorizing the hapless Judges and their families, many uninformed Nigerians hailed the misadventure as a sign of fighting corruption.
In his words, “Friday’s disgraceful and atrocious outing by the DSS is the clearest exemplification of a rudderless state in search of a redemptive deus ex machina.
“A government that is short on tolerance to criticism, plurality of voices and opposition and which serially violates citizens’ rights and disobeys court orders is a ready recipe for organised disenchantment.
“Our constitutional democracy should be one modelled on the rule of law and not on the rule of the thumb of a benevolent ruler, even if dictatorial, tyrannical, absolutist and fascist”, he said.