The Nigerian Bar Association has expressed its displeasure with the Federal Government’s invasion of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili’s Abuja house last week.
At a special press briefing in Lagos on Friday, NBA President Olumide Akpata defined the operation as outrageous and the assembling of an unsettling cloud over the judiciary, comparing it to how Department of State Services operatives ransacked the homes of seven judges in 2016 and how a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (retd. ), was “unlawfully kicked out of office” ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The NBA, according to Apata, will stop at nothing to ensure that individuals who are behaving badly are punished.
Akpata said, “We are calling on the President, the head of the executive government arm of government, to set up an independent panel of inquiry, to look into this assault on the judiciary, which is another arm of government because there is a dark cloud hanging and all fingers are pointing at the executive as being behind this action.
“It behoves Mr President to step in immediately, to set up this panel of inquiry, which, at the minimum, will have a judicial officer and the NBA involved so that we can get to the bottom of this issue and ask: who gave that instruction?”
“We note that the Attorney General of the Federation has reportedly agreed to make himself available for investigation. This is consistent with the position of the National Executive Council of the NBA, to the effect that the Attorney General definitely has questions to answer. However, he cannot subject himself to a panel that he sets up. This is why the panel to be set up by the President is very necessary.
“If the Attorney General is found culpable, then as a lawyer, we will take him before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee and the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee; because if indeed, he is found to have given the directives that led to the invasion of the home of the Justice of the Supreme Court, then he is not fit to hold the office he occupies presently and continue to be the recipient of the privileges the profession has accorded to him.”