The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has rejected the denial of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, of involvement in the raid of the residence of a female Judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, by veiled security operatives, Justice Mary Odili. The NBA argued that the denial was not sufficient but that the minister should take further action to ensure the punishment of the government security officials that were involved in the illegal operation that have become controversial in the country.
The NBA NBA President, Olumide Akpata, had declared that ‘the denials of the relevant authorities of involvement in the raid on the residence of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Mary Odili, were unsatisfactory.’
The NBA President, Olumide Akpata, at the Special Court Session in commemoration of a demised Justice of the Supreme Court, Samuel Oseji, in Abuja, insisted that the NBA would ensure that all the actors in the raid are exposed and punished.
The NBA President had declared: “We are thoroughly dissatisfied with the denials emanating from the relevant agencies and departments of government and we have vowed to leave no stone unturned in our bid to unmask all those behind this attack and to bring to justice anyone found culpable, no matter how highly placed.”
He encouraged lawyers to be united, rather than raising discordant voices in condemnation of the acts to desecrate the sanctity of the judiciary in Nigeria. Akpata advocated that “lawyers, as ministers in the temple of justice, must speak in one voice against the desecration of the judiciary.”
The NBA President, stated: “The cacophony of often discordant voices emanating from what ordinarily should be one Bar, on this same issue, has almost become comical and those to whom we purport to direct our umbrage may be forgiven for not taking us seriously.
“It serves no useful purpose, after the NBA has clearly articulated a position on such a serious matter, for other groups within the association, whether they be a body of senior or junior advocates, to muddy the waters by embarking on needless road-shows and issuing statements that only serve to portray our association, and indeed, our approach to the issue at hand, as uncoordinated and ultimately ineffective.”
Akpata maintained that the NBA “is the only voice of the legal profession in Nigeria and it has spoken unequivocally on this issue and shall follow this up with unmistakable resolve.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN; the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the State Security Services (SSS), had all denied authorising the raid or knowledge of the raid on Justice Odili’s residence. However, the NBA is demanding proper action beyond mere denials, if the agencies and ministry were not involved, who then, were the state actors that carried out the operation, NBA demands an answer and appropriate sanctions.