‘Orchestrated Affront On judiciary’ — NBA To Meet Security Chiefs Over Odili Home Invasion

‘Orchestrated Affront On judiciary’ — NBA To Meet Security Chiefs Over Odili Home Invasion

Olumide Akpata, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), says the invasion of Mary Odili’s residence is an “affront” on the judiciary.

The NBA president also said the association will hold a meeting with heads of “relevant” security agencies to get more information on the issue.

Security operatives had, on Friday, invaded the house of Odili, a justice of the supreme court, on the claim that “illegal activities” were going on at the house.

The warrant presented to search the property was issued by Emmanuel Iyanna, a chief magistrate at Wuse zone 6 magistrate court, in favour of one Lawrence Ajodo, identified as a chief superintendent of police and a member of the investigation team under the asset tax recovery panel of the ministry of justice.

The warrant, however, did not bear the name or the correct residential address of the supreme court justice.

While Odili’s address is 7, Imo river street, Maitama, the address on the warrant is 9, Imo street, Maitama.

The magistrate has since revoked the warrant.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has refuted claims that it was involved in the raid, while Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, has ordered a probe into the invasion.

Reacting to the situation via a statement on Saturday, Akpata said the fact that the EFCC and Malami have denied their involvement in the operation, “suggests the inference that the residence of the second most senior judicial officer in Nigeria was raided by rogue security agencies”.

“The grave implications of this possibility leave a lot to be desired,” he said.

“When viewed in the context of a similar raid on the premises of supreme court justices in 2016, the rationale of which was never fully explained or indeed justified, the NBA interprets last night’s incident as a part of an orchestrated affront on the Judiciary, designed to intimidate and ridicule the Judiciary. The NBA will no longer allow this to continue.

“In case the law enforcement agencies have not learnt their lessons, events like this do nothing but erode the independence of sacred democratic institutions like the Judiciary, undermine the rule of law in Nigeria, and set the country back in the quest to instill confidence in citizens of Nigeria, Nigerian businesses, and foreign investors that Nigeria operates a democracy with an independent judiciary.

“I have spoken with my lord, Peter-Odili JSC, and I am happy to report that she is alive and well. Beyond that, however, it is my pledge to Nigerians that the NBA will get to the root of this matter.

“In line with the aims and objectives of the NBA which include the protection and defence of the independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law in Nigeria, we will be convening an emergency meeting of the NBA National Executive Committee solely to discuss this issue and take a definitive stand on behalf of the NBA.

“I will also lead a delegation to the honourable attorney-general of the federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN and the relevant heads of security agencies to seek further clarification on the circumstances of this incident.

“Thereafter, the NBA will ensure that all those responsible for this unfortunate incident are brought to book. We must do all that is required to safeguard the independence of our Judiciary and indeed protect our hard-won democracy.”


Culled from The Cable

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