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

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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”.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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“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 these regard are not concerted.

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“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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