The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Yakubu Maikyau SAN, and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN have reacted to the show of shame between officers of DSS, and Correctional Services at the Federal High Court, Lagos on Tuesday where they openly engaged in fisticuffs over the arrest and detention of former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
After his arraignment, Justice Nicholas Oweibo had granted Emefiele a N20 million bail and directed that he be kept at a Correctional Center pending the perfection of his bail. This led to broil between officers of DSS who wanted to rearrest Emefiele, and Wardens who wanted to take him in pending perfection of his bail. The situation degenerated to fisticuffs and dragging between the the men of both Federal Government agencies.
Reacting to the incident, Maikyau condemned the show of shame, calling it a ‘despicable altercation’. In a statement signed by NBA Publicity Secretary, Habeeb Lawal, the President called it a brazen disrespect for the judicial process and sanctity of court premises. “The NBA has particularly denounced the DSS for its peculiar part in the disgraceful and unlawful conduct, considering the fact that the Court had earlier ordered that the suspended CBN Government be kept in a Correctional Centre pending the perfection of his bail conditions”, the statement read.
According the NBA President, “the courts and judicial processes remain the barometer by which the conduct of persons or agencies of government are gauged in assessing the rule of law.”
He described the incident as “further evidence of the lack of discipline and absence of professionalism that continues to plague key security institutions in Nigeria, which, without doubt, is largely responsible for the limited progress in achieving a coordinated response to security concerns across the country.”
His words: “A situation where officers of Federal Government agencies engage in a fight as witnessed by the public, for whatever reason, is antithetical to our security as a nation and creates a recipe for anarchy and chaos. Both the DSS and the NCoS are important institutions dealing with national security and administration of justice respectively, and the need for them to work in concert towards attaining justice in a secured Nigeria cannot be overemphasised.”
While it is difficult not to hold the leadership of the two federal government agencies directly responsible for the shameful and disgraceful conduct of the personnel, the NBA President has particularly called on the two agencies “to take immediate disciplinary measures against the officers involved in this disgraceful conduct.” In addition to this disciplinary measure, Mr. Maikyau also advised “a complete overhaul of the institutions and a total reorientation of the personnel, to achieve professionalism and ensure synergy in the discharge of their respective constitutional responsibilities.”
In his own reaction, Falana called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately sanction the DSS officials involved in the show of shame.
He said: “Notwithstanding the avowed commitment of the Bola Tinubu administration to operate under the rule of law, a team of State Security Service officials brazenly disobeyed the orders of the Federal High Court this morning at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi. The Court had admitted Mr. Godwin Emefiele to bail in respect of the offence of illegal possession of firearms. For daring to comply with the orders of the Federal High Court, officials of the Correctional Centre were attacked by gun-totting officers of the SSS;
Notwithstanding the avowed commitment of the Bola Tinubu administration to operate under the rule of law, a team of State Security Service officials brazenly disobeyed the orders of the Federal High Court, which admitted Mr. Godwin Emefiele to bail in respect of the offence of illegal possession of firearms;
In view of the stern warning of President Tinubu that inter-agency physical attacks would not be permitted under his administration, the security officers who attacked officials of the Ikoyi Correctional Centre ought to be fished out and sanctioned. The federal government should also ensure that the orders of the Federal High Court are obeyed forthwith;
However, all public officers should draw the necessary lessons from the current travails of Mr. Emefiele. As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he recklessly displayed arrogance and impunity by disobeying the orders of several courts, including the Supreme Court of Nigeria!
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