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Odili: ‘We’re dissatis­fied with the denials’, NBA tells Malami, DSS, EFCC

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has kicked against the denial by security agencies over the raid on the residence of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court.
NBA President, Olumide Akpata, Esq., stated this yesterday at the valedictory court session in honour of the late Justice Samuel Chuk­wudumebi Oseji of the Su­preme Court. The NBA president insist­ed that those who ordered the invasion must be unmasked. Recall that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services had denied knowledge of the incident. But Akpata said: “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. “Public officers must be made to account for whatever they do with their entrusted powers and where there is any appearance of executive lawlessness, the NBA will re­spond with dispatch to demand for justice”. He said it was pertinent for him to pause to dwell on the recent assault on the sanctity of “this court by agents of this government who laid siege to the home of the Hon. Justice Mary Odili on Friday October 29, 2021”. He stressed that Justice Os­eji would not forgive lawyers if all they could do was to cel­ebrate his life whilst turning a blind eye on the actions of “these agents of government who are obviously intent on desecrating and denigrating this honourable court and in­deed the entire Nigerian judi­ciary”. The NBA boss maintained that the sting operation by those tagged, “faceless secu­rity personnel” calls for grave concern as according to him, “it is undoubtedly an attempt to intimidate the judiciary and to dissuade our judges and jus­tices from dispensing justice without fear or favour”. Akpata recalled that the Chief Justice of Nigeria at the annual general conference of the NBA recently held in Port Harcourt on October 25, 2021, had thrown a challenge at the Bar to always rise in defence of the Bench. Therefore, he reassured the apex court jurists of the solidarity of the Bar with the Bench and its readiness to confront anyone who is intent on desecrating the temple of justice. Akpata recalled in 2016 when there was a Gestapo-like invasion of the residences of some justices by this same se­curity agents that the Bar con­demned in very strong terms the ridicule that the institution of the courts was subjected to. “In this instant case, the NBA has been unequivocal in its condemnation of this das­tardly act. We have also called an emergency meeting of the National Executive Commit­tee of the association at which immediate next steps were pre­scribed and adopted. “It is with equal determina­tion that we will also call out and discipline any of our mem­bers who is found to have been part of this despicable attempt to ridicule the judiciary. “It must, however, be not­ed that just as was the case in 2016, when the homes of some judicial officers were invaded and more recently when the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria was illegally removed from office, the resolve of the Bar to rise in defence of the judiciary can and will be un­dermined where our efforts in this regard are not concerted. “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.”

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