NBA to IG: name those who ordered siege to Justice Odili’s house

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed dissatisfaction with the manner Federal Government agencies are handling the recent invasion of the Abuja home of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili.

NBA’s President Olumide Akpata said while the association was “thoroughly dissatisfied with the denials” emanating from relevant agencies and departments of government, it urged Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba Alkali to identify those who directed the invasion.

He said: “Whilst we note that the IGP has announced the arrest of all the officers who invaded the home of Hon. Justice Mary Odili, we, however, demand that the veil of secrecy behind which those who directed the said officers are hiding must be torn to shreds for them all to also be brought to justice. There should be no sacred cows.

“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.”

Akpata spoke yesterday in Abuja at the valedictory court session in honour of the late Justice Samuel Oseji of the Supreme Court, who died on September 28, 2021.

The NBA president stressed that the association would sanction any lawyer found to have been part of the recent attempt to ridicule the Judiciary and cautioned against discordant tunes from other groups of lawyers.

“Public officers must be made to account for whatever they do with their entrusted powers. Where there is any appearance of Executive lawlessness, the NBA will respond with dispatch to demand for justice.

“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,” he said.

Akpata said the NBA remained the only mouthpiece of the legal profession in the country.

“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.

“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 roadshows and issuing statements that only serve to portray our association, and indeed our approach to the issue at hand, as uncoordinated and, ultimately, ineffective.

“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,” he said.

Akpata, who commiserated with the family of the deceased, described him as “a jurist of steel character” who was “unbendable and uncompromising in dispensing justice to those who deserve it”.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, described the late Oseji as a dedicated and passionate judicial officer whose judgments were not only fact-based but very analytical and inclusive.

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