Sowore: NBA condemns unlawful detention of Nigerians

• demands immediate suspension of DSS boss

The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the Friday disruption of a court proceeding by men of the state security services, urging Nigerians to stay alive to defend the sanctity of the rule of law.

The body of lawyers noted that the ‘desecration and assault’ on the Federal High Court by DSS while attempting to rearrest the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, is a crass violation of law and further advanced the insensitivity of the security operatives to judicial proceeding.

In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kunle Edun, the association expressed dismay at the utter exhibition of ‘primitivity, thuggery, insane passion’ for what it described as lawlessness and disrespect for the judicial arm.

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“The NBA has been properly briefed – beyond the shameful videos of the incident in public domain – by our members who witnessed the disgraceful and crass violation of the hallowed precincts of the law by the officers of the Department of State Services, an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. 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 abandon judicial proceedings because of safety concerns.”

Condemning the assault, NBA advanced that the court riot contravened the oath sworn by the President to protect the dignity of Courts and ensure compliance with court orders.

“The Nigerian Bar Association strongly condemn the action of the Department of State Security, which is another in the series of impunity and lawlessness exhibited by the DSS. The invasion of the court by the agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria runs contrary to the avowed assurances of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that he will ensure that the Federal Government and agencies under it obey court orders. The disrespect of the court by the DSS is legendary and unrivalled.”

The Bar Association recalled a similar assault involving operatives of the Nigerian Police Force when they invaded a High Court sitting in Effurun to forcefully arrest the chairman of Sapele Branch of NBA, Mr Ademi-Akpeto. He added that the unlawful detention of Nigerians by security operatives indicates impunity and total disregard for the law and the Courts.

The association, therefore, called on Nigerians, Civil society groups to ensure the rights of Nigerians are not trampled upon by government agencies.

The association, further, demanded the immediate  suspension of the state security boss, Yusuf Bichi, relating that the security service under his command derived pleasure in violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and court order while the National Assembly investigate and grill the act establishing all security operatives to reposition their commitment to the public.

“We urges 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 organizations 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. The NBA therefore, demands as that the Federal Government of Nigeria and the National Assembly immediately investigate the shameful conduct by the DSS and ensure that all persons found culpable are duly punished in accordance with the law; immediate suspension of the Director-General of the Department of State Security 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. That the National Assembly should 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 group tabled.

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