The Nigerian bar association (NBA) has confirmed that the recent widely circulated pictures and videos about the department of state security disrupting a court proceeding to re-arrest persons already granted bail and released by the court was true.
The body said in a press statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Kunle Edu, that “The NBA has been properly briefed – beyond the shameful videos of the incident in public domain- by our members who witnessed the disgraceful and crass violation of the hallowed precincts of the law by the officers of the Department of State Services, an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The NBA finds it disgraceful that this ‘court riot’ occasioned by the high handedness and insensitivity of the security operatives interrupted judicial proceedings and made the Presiding Judge to abandon judicial proceedings because of safety concerns.”
It expressed dismay at what it called “exhibition of primitivity, thuggery, insane passion for lawlessness, contempt and disrespect for the rule of law by the agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) within the precincts of the Federal High Court, Abuja while attempting to re-arrest Citizens Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare …”
The lawyers’ group also expressed concerns that Nigeria’s security operatives were fast becoming notorious for such impunity, explaining that “Few days ago, the officers of the Nigerian Police Force exhibited similar traits when it also invaded the precincts of the High Court, Effurun to arrest Mr. Ademi-Akpeto, Chairman of Sapele branch of the NBA. Many Nigerians are still in unlawful custody and not charged to court. Nigerians are now under siege by security agents who have no regards for the law and the courts.”
It therefore demands for “The immediate suspension of the Director General of the Department of State Security from office”, saying the demand is necessary “bearing in mind the fact that the DSS under his leadership has established itself as a brutish and irresponsible agency that derives immense pleasure from violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and disrespecting court orders.”
Other demands made by NBA include an immediate investigation into the incidence by the nation’s executive and legislature so that “all persons found culpable are duly punished in accordance with the law”, and that “the Attorney General of the Federation, being the Chief Law officer of the Federation takes over all the political cases or cases involving politically exposed persons presently handled by the DSS.”