Saturday, 4 July, 2020

NBA LAGOS LAW WEEK HOLDS JUNE 15

The Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch will hold its popular annual Law Week for this year from June 15 to June 21, 2019. The two-day plenary sessions will hold at the highbrow City Hall, Lagos.

Among the highlights of the event which is usually attended by the cream of Nigeria’s bar and bench are the classy Opening Ceremony, plenary sessions, health walk, prison visits, health check, closing party and Elders’ Nite.

Spearheaded by the cerebral Mr. Oyetola Oshobi SAN who also anchored last year’s highly successful week, the Law Week Planning Committee has been combing the entire legal landscape for A-list speakers. Over 40 leading jurists had audiences asking for more at last year’s event. The theme was “Human Capital and the Legal Profession in the 21st Century.” The theme for this year’s Law Week is still under wraps and will be unveiled at a Press Conference to formally herald the week.

Meanwhile, registration for this year’s law week has since commenced. Multiple registration channels have been provided by the Law Week Committee towards a seamless and hassle-free registration experience for intending participants. These include payment at the bank or through POS at the branch office. Participants can also download the registration form and pay through the payment gateway on the branch website.

The registration rates are below:

1-7 years: N3,500
8 – 15 years: N5,000
16 – 19 years is 10,000
20 years and above is N15,000
SAN AND BENCHERS N20,000

Please make payment to Nigerian Bar Association Lagos Branch at Access Bank. Account Number is 0728253326. Please return the registration form to the branch office with proof of payment.

For enquiries, please contact:
Nkem Agboti
08035739791
nagboti@gmail.com.

Oluyemisi Iwajomo:
08064112076
olwajomo@babalakinandco.com

Copyright 2018 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

My ordeal with EFCC, by Ubani

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani has shed more light on his face-off with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to Ubani, circumstances conspired to foist a state of helplessness on him, moreso as he personally persuaded his client and former National Insurance Trust Fund Chairman, Mrs. Ngozi Olejeme to return to Nigeria to face her charge.

His words:

Friends, thanks. It is not as if I was careless. See reasons for my action which now looks as if I was sentimental:

  1. I brought the said woman back with all her family members from South Africa to come and respond to her allegations.
  2. She had multiple operations prior to her coming and requested that her medical condition will not permit of any detention.
  3. Despite that fact, she was detained for 14 days in a hospital before release.
  4. Her health was deteriorating during that detention and pressure was mounted on me the lawyer to get her out on bail.
  5. She presented qualified sureties in accordance with the bail condition of EFCC but was rejected by them.
  6. They insisted on senior citizens and important personalities to stand.
  7. EFCC said that they won’t mind if I stand for her since I was the person that brought her back.
  8. The time for this discussion was 10 pm.
  9. The said woman had not taken her bath for the 14 days she was in detention due to her health condition.
  10. It would have amounted to a betrayal to her and a dent to my own integrity towards a woman I brought back to reject to stand for her when that window of opportunity was thrown open that my suretyship will suffice.
    11 Think what you will do if you were in my shoe.
    12 It is easy to criticize when you are not the one involved or if you do not have the full facts or know the full circumstances.
    She was later chased away for another matter that has nothing to do with the matter she came for. They invaded her home with several policemen and searched her house for over 3hrs. She was really scared and slipped away from her house when they left her to go for another matter. Since that day she ceased communication with me. I still went after her by getting INTERPOL to place her on Red Alert which was what I went to report at EFCC and was asked to be locked up for 24 days. IT SHALL END IN PRAISE! The experience while in there was a tremendous BLESSING FOR ME. THANKS FOR STANDING FOR ME AND WITH ME SIRS AND SISTERS. MOU.

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ONNOGHEN: ACCESS TO JUSTICE WANTS UMAR SACKED

A leading human rights group, Access to Justice has called for the removal of Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, saying the move will restore confidence in the tribunal.

Reacting to the tribunal’s judgement on suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, Access to Justice (A2Justice) said that the tribunal is not independent of the executive arm of government.

In a statement jointly signed by Messrs Joseph Otteh and Daniel Aloaye, its Executive Director and Programme Officer respectively, A2Justice warned that with the spectre of a criminal charge hanging over the head of the tribunal’s chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, the Executive arm is bound to arm-twist the jurist to do its bidding. It said: “It is clearly feasible to argue, at least theoretically, that all an executive government needs to do to get the Code of Conduct Tribunal groveling to its side is to raise the spectre of pursuing a corruption trial against its Chairman, Danladi Umar. That is just how vulnerable the leadership of the Code of Conduct Tribunal is. There needs to be a change in the chairmanship of the Tribunal if it is to inspire public confidence in itself.”

The human rights group described Onnoghen’s trial as “shambolic,” adding that the outcome of the trial was “pre-determined.”

It also carpeted the procedures adopted by the tribunal in reaching its verdict, saying they were “far too faulty and flawed to be regarded as a judicial process.”

Saying that it had no opinion on the guilt or otherwise of the Supreme Court jurist since he is presumed innocent by the Constitution, A2Justice added that “The bizarre and egregious procedure taken to unseat Justice Onnoghen was an unmistakable indication that no barrel was too deep to plumb in getting to achieve what the Tribunal wanted to achieve, and no rule or principle of law was strong or revered enough to forestall its plan.”

Below is the full text of the statement.


ABSURD. SHAMBOLIC. – TRIAL AND JUDGEMENT OF CODE OF CONDUCT TRIBUNAL IN FRN V. ONNOGHEN PLUMB THE DEPTHS OF TRAVESTY

Today, April 18, 2019, the Code of Conduct Tribunal in a judgment delivered by its chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar convicted Justice Walter Onnoghen on a six-count charge of false declaration of assets. The charges were filed on January 10th 2019 by the Federal Government of Nigeria following a petition to the Code of Conduct Bureau on January 9th 2019 by an organization (the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative). Following its verdict, the Tribunal ordered Justice Onnoghen’s removal from judicial office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as well as the seizure and forfeiture of the monies in his accounts. It also barred him from holding public office for ten years. The Code of Conduct Tribunal is a quasi-criminal court saddled with the responsibility of handling complaints of non-compliance with the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. The primary objective of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, as provided under its Enabling Act is to establish and maintain a high standard of morality in the conduct of their official functions by public officials.

Access to Justice (A2Justice) takes no position on whether Justice Walter Onnoghen committed the infractions with which he was charged or indeed is guilty of offences related to them. A2Justice abides by the rule of law principle that all persons are equal before the law and that no person should be above the law. However, a cardinal rule of law requirement is that courts and tribunals which exercise judicial powers should be independent of other arms of government and appear, in the perception of reasonable observers, to be so independent.

Unfortunately, the Code of Conduct Tribunal did not offer this guarantee of independence, neither its perception. Far from it. The Tribunal had, from the word go, drawn the handwriting on the wall indicating that it was bent on a particular outcome, and that it would look neither to the left nor to the right in the blind pursuit of that goal. At several pivotal junctures in the course of the trial, the Tribunal appeared to demonstrate that it was clearly on the same side with the government, and was not sitting as an unbiased umpire or judicial arbiter.

Nowhere was this more evident as when Danladi Umar and another member of the Tribunal granted, speaking figuratively, under cover of darkness on January 23rd 2019, an ex-parte Order removing Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria. The bizarre and egregious procedure taken to unseat Justice Onnoghen was an unmistakable indication that no barrel was too deep to plumb in getting to achieve what the Tribunal wanted to achieve, and no rule or principle of law was strong or revered enough to forestall its plan. It will not surprise many that the Code of Conduct Tribunal reached the verdict it did after using very questionable procedures from the very start.

It would be a serious fallacy to characterize the Tribunal’s verdict as one reached after a due process trial using even the lowest possible denominators of what a fair trial represents. The procedures adopted by the Tribunal in the case were far too faulty and flawed to be regarded as a judicial process. To reasonable observers, it would appear that the Tribunal’s procedure and speed were deliberately contorted to enable it reach its pre-determined outcomes, and its verdict was simply a reflection and product of the shambolic trial.

Undoubtedly, Justice Onnoghen’s trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal was, in every way, grossly and grievously unfair, and no fair-minded court or tribunal could have descended to the depths the Code of Conduct Tribunal delved in trying to convict Walter Onnoghen on the charges against him in order to remove him from office. The Tribunal was so desperate to convict Justice Onnoghen that it had to overturn or side-step its previous judgments on similar matters, decisions such as those given in a prior case involving another Justice of the Supreme Court. A cardinal principle of our Common Law system is that similar cases are decided alike in other to prevent arbitrariness and caprice in the adjudication of cases.

This is not a way to fight corruption. There is no positive, but rather, there are plenty negatives to this flawed judgment. This judgment merely shows how much is still lacking in Nigeria’s courts and tribunals and how distanced they truly are from being independent vehicles of justice. Unfortunately, the Code of Conduct Tribunal has been headed for a long time by a person who himself has been the subject of corruption allegations, and that, in itself, is a major weakness.

More than changing its leadership, constitutional reforms must make the CCT a more independent institution. As Danladi Umar himself said in his judgment today, “…CCT also is not under the supervision of the National Judicial Council but the Presidency…’’. A Tribunal under the Presidency cannot be independent of the Presidency, which is a political institution.

Ultimately, the trial and judgment of the CCT will disparage Nigeria’s system of justice in the eyes of the international community. More than that however, they show that, despite elaborate constitutional arrangements to guarantee an independent Judiciary, as well as constitutional rights to a fair trial, the judicial process is still weak and leaking through many crevices leaving many citizens defenceless and exposed as a result. We see this situation in the Code of Conduct Tribunal. No democracy can flourish under such conditions.

For Access to Justice
Joseph Otteh Daniel Aloaye
Executive Director Programme Officer

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ZAMFARA ELECTION: THE TASK BEFORE SUPREME COURT

By IGE ASEMUDARA

Prominent lawyer and Managing Partner of Royal Practice (Legal Group), Ige Asemudara argues that there is no ambiguity as to the path the Supreme Court should tread in the Zamfara State elections saga

There is no gainsaying the fact that non-compliance with rules and disobedience to law and order has been the bane of the Nigerian state; her institutions are bogged down by it and her machineries are almost grinding to a halt. Thus, government agencies and departments are either unproductive, under-productive or counter-productive. From university admissions to recruitment into government services, and the administration of public services of the federation and its various constituent states, standard procedures are hardly ever followed. This general affliction of the Nigerian state is replicated in virtually all the facets of public life including electoral matters. Nigeria stinks as impunity reigns! In Nigeria, the law merely stares as its assailers rapes and tortures her.

In electoral matters, Nigeria has been greeted by a spate of breaches of the rule of law and standard electoral practices making her a laughing stock in the international community. Failure to play by the rules has been a serious challenge for the various participants. It is unfortunate that many powerful individual aspirants or candidates and their political parties are involved in the deliberate and arrogant assault on the electoral laws. The involvement of political parties in these breaches manifests during inter-parties general elections as well as intra-party primaries. In law, the internal democracies of parties are as important to the process as the general elections and the Electoral Act, 2010 does not pretend about this. Due to the bad practices of the past years and the criticisms leveled against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electoral umpire decided to rise up and ensure compliance with the law. The result is the Rivers and Zamfara debacle.

Whilst Rivers has been laid to rest vide the Supreme Court decision of 11th February, 2019, Zamfara appears to still pretend that there is a misty cloud of uncertainty as the two All Progressives Congress (APC) factions continue in legal warfare. The other participating political parties have also continued to embark on series of journeys targeted at resolving the log jam in their favour. In all of these, where does the law stand in Zamfara ? What must INEC do in the rare circumstances of the issue and in view of the law particularly the decision of the Court of Appeal (Sokoto division) graciously rolled down by my Lords, Tom Shaibu Yakubu, Tijjani Abubakar and Jamilu Yammama Tukur JJJCA on the 25th day of March, 2019?

In the prelude to the 2019 general election, APC had failed, neglected or refused to conduct a primary election for the aspirants to the governorship, National Assembly and State House of Assembly positions in Zamfara state before the lapse of time as provided by law. So, INEC communicated its intention not to include any candidate of the APC for these positions in the election until the party rushed to the Zamfara State High Court to secure a judgment that compelled INEC to recognise and include the candidates of the party submitted by the state chairman of the party. It was under this circumstance that the parties went into the general election on 9th of March, 2019. Whilst this went on, an appeal was pending against the judgment of Shinkafi J. which mandated INEC to recognize and include the names of the candidates of the APC on the ballot papers. Eventually, INEC announced the results of the March, 2019 governorship election and declared Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu of the APC as the winner of the election scoring 534, 541 votes to defeat Dr. Bello Muhammad Mutawalle of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 189, 452 votes. Thereafter, the Court of Appeal concluded the hearing of the appeal lodged by Senator Kabiru Marafa and others and gave a judgment setting aside the decision of the High Court thereby nullifying and invalidating the APC primaries purportedly conducted on the 3rd and 7th day of October, 2018 in Zamfara state. This made INEC to immediately withhold the issuance of certificate of returns to the APC members in Zamfara state. This seems to have created a misty atmosphere in Zamfara which ought not to be as the law is clear enough on an issue such as this.

According to Lon Fuller, Law is the enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules. In his Morality of Law, Fuller identified eight principles of legality which are generally accepted by legal scholars as capturing the essence of the rule of law. Without bogging down the reader with the details of Fuller’s proposition, it suffices to say that the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the actions and conduct of INEC as the administering authorities of the electoral laws as well as the decision of the Court of Appeal on the 25th of March, 2019 are all within the enduring parameters of legality envisaged by Fuller. In simple terms, every participant in an election is not only expected to comply with the rules but he is bound by the clear rules and laws applicable to the said election for there is no game without a rule.

There has been a raging debate on what INEC ought to do under the circumstance. Like the preponderance of opinion, the Court of Appeal agreed and held that APC failed to comply with the provisions of Sections 31(1) and 87(1&2) of the Electoral Act, 2010. In reaching its decision the Honourable Court of Appeal quoted extensively from the Supreme Court’s decision in LAU V. PDP (2007) LPELR – 42800 (SC) @ pp 24-26 thus: “This is a hard and very bitter lesson for political parties to learn, they may have chosen candidates or eminent personalities they want to present as candidates to INEC, but they have to play by the rules, the chosen candidates must comply with the requirements of the law; they must abide by the provisions of the electoral Act, which creates a level playing field for all aspirants, who seek to contest elections. So, the political parties and their candidates must obey the Rules”. Now, it is without doubt that section 87(9) of the Electoral Act, 2010 provides that “where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue”. In the Zamfara situation, the candidates have been included in the election based on a court order which has now been reversed. The reversal means that the inclusion of APC candidates in the election was not just wrong but void.

It is humbly submitted that the refusal by INEC to issue the APC candidates certificates of return for the elections of 9th March, 2019 is in tandem with law. This is because in law, one cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand. Lord Denning said that much in U.A.C. V. Macfoy (1962) A.C. 153 when he held that “If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity…. It is automatically null and void without much ado, though it is sometimes convenient to have the court declare it to be so. And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad”. It is safe for INEC to hold on to the certificate until any appeal lodged at the Supreme Court is determined.

However, at the moment seeing through the eyes of the law in the spectacle of the Court of Appeal judgment of 25th March, 2019, the candidates of the APC never participated in the election and have no rights to take any benefit of it. INEC must however, bear in mind that like nature, the law abhors vacuum and governance must go on despite these electoral hurdles. In case there is no judgment from the Supreme Court before the 29th May, 2019, it is the candidates of the party that polled the second highest votes in constituencies and districts where APC came first, which should be handed the certificates of return and sworn-in. For instance, in the governorship position, Dr. Bello Muhammad Mutawalle of the PDP who came first among the lawful candidates in the election should be the person to be handed the certificate of return and sworn-in as the Executive Governor of Zamfara State the victory of the purported candidate of the APC over him being merely pyrrhic and false.

Finally, while it is hoped that politicians and political parties have learnt their lessons in all of these situations, it is important to state that until and unless an appeal is lodged at the Supreme Court and a verdict returned upturning the extant Court of Appeal judgment, APC and her members have no right to covertly or overtly obstruct INEC from performing its duties of issuing a certificate of return to the candidates of other political parties that have polled the highest number of votes in the eyes of the law. INEC being one of the respondents that lost at the appeal court must swiftly perform its statutory duty as an unbiased umpire. I am in agreement with Jerome Frank that a legal right is a law-suit won, and a legal duty is a law-suit lost.

Ige Asemudara Esq. a Lagos-based Legal Practitioner is the Managing Partner of Royal Practice (Legal Group), Lekki, Lagos.

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NBA, EBF, Igbo Lawyers Ask EFCC to Release Ubani


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has come under a flurry of attacks as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other groups of lawyers demanded immediate release of former NBA 2nd Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani.

An ardent social critic, Ubani has been in EFCC custody for about three weeks for allegedly standing surety for his client and former Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) chief executive, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Olejeme.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun, NBA described Ubani’s continued detention notwithstanding a court order for his release as “a gross violation of his constitutional rights to personal liberty. “

Noting that “Democracy thrives only where there is a culture of respect for rule of law and due process by all persons,” the lawyers’ body said: “The Nigerian Bar Association, therefore, demands that the EFCC immediately complies with the subsisting order of the Federal High Court by releasing Monday Ubani or charge him to court, if there is any reasonable cause to so do.”

In a similar vein, Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society), the umbrella body of Igbo lawyers noted that “It is a matter of deep concern and national embarrassment that the EFCC has chosen to brazenly disobey this order of the court.”

In a statement by its President, Chief Chuks Ikokwu, the influential body of Igbo lawyers said: “It is more worrisome that Mr. Ubani, an ardent critic, activist and social crusader, was asked to personally take his client on bail by Mr. Magu, the EFCC having rejected top civil servants it earlier demanded. Was this a ploy to silence the former NBA chieftain and unrelenting social critic?”

On its part, the Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) also chided the EFCC for its continued detention of the former NBA chieftain. In a statement signed by its Pulicity Secretary, Mr. George Fortune Igbikikuno, the EBF stated that “Nigeria is in a constitutional democracy where respect for rule of law reigns supreme,” adding: “The EBF seriously deprecates the EFCC’s disobedience to court order and urges it to do the needful.”

Below are the statements:


NBA CONDEMNS THE UNLAWFUL DETENTION OF MONDAY UBANI BY EFCC AND DEMANDS FOR HIS IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The attention of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, SAN has been drawn to an order of Honorable Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal High Court wherein His Lordship, on March 26, 2019 granted an ex-parte motion filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to charge, Monday Ubani, a former 3rd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and his co-applicant to court on or before Friday, 28/3/2019.

The court in the alternative, ordered that

“If the Applicants are not charged to court on or before 28/3/2019, EFCC is directed to release them on bail”

It has been 3 days after the order of the court was made and the EFCC, has characteristically shown daring disobedience to the orders of the court by refusing to release Monday Ubani on bail or charge him to court before the 28/3/201.

By the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supreme and binding on all persons and institutions in Nigeria.

By the further provisions of Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution “ Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time.”

Mr. Monday Ubani still remains in the unlawful custody of the EFCC for more than three weeks, which is a gross violation of his constitutional rights to personal liberty.

Democracy thrives only where there is a culture of respect for rule of law and due process by all persons. The EFCC, being a product of law, must also be subject to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and therefore, cannot be above the law. The agency’s penchant for disobedience to orders of court is an ominous threat to rule of law and impacts negatively on Nigeria’s investment environment.

The Nigerian Bar Association, therefore, demands that the EFCC immediately complies with the subsisting order of the Federal High Court by releasing Monday Ubani or charge him to court, if there is any reasonable cause to so do.

The Nigerian Bar Association also urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to closely monitor the activities of security agencies, like EFCC and DSS, and ensure that they obey the fundamental rights of Nigerians and respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the performance of their functions.

Kunle Edun
National Publicity Secretary, NBA.

OBEY COURT ORDER, RELEASE UBANI NOW – IGBO LAWYERS TELL EFCC


The Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society) has watched with dismay the flagrant disregard of a valid and subsisting court order and the 1999 Constitution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) led by its Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

It is recalled that Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal High Court had in a ruling on March 26, 2019 granted an ex-parte motion filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN directing the EFCC to charge former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani and his co-applicant to court “on or before Friday, 28/3/2019.”

The court in the alternative ordered that “If the Applicants are not charged to court on or before 28/3/2019, EFCC is directed to release them on bail” upon fulfillment of some listed conditions.

It is a matter of deep concern and national embarrassment that the EFCC has chosen to brazenly disobey this order of the court. It has neither charged the former NBA Vice President to court nor granted him any administrative bail.

Aside from the EFCC and its leadership being in clear breach of the extant order of the Federal High Court, the continued detention of Mr. Ubani also violates Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution which provides that “Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time.” The maximum detention period is 48 hours, except extended by a competent court. Mr. Ubani has been in EFCC custody for about three weeks.

It also violates the detainees’ right to dignity of human persons, right to personal liberty, and right to freedom of movement as set out in sections 34, 35 and 41 respectively of the 1999 Constitution.

This culture of impunity as consistently exhibited by EFCC and its leadership continues to ridicule Nigeria in the comity of nations and sabotage efforts at attracting foreign direct investment. Investors only go to jurisdictions where the rule of law and respect for human rights are guaranteed while shunning countries where ‘rule of men’ predominate.

It is even more worrisome that this blatant disobedience of a valid court order by the Magu-led EFCC is coming on the heels of serial disobedience of court orders by the Federal Government directing the release from custody of former National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki and leader of Shi’a Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife. Is Mr. Magu merely taking a cue from the Federal Government?

We note that by the continued disobedience of the order of Federal High Court, Mr. Magu and the EFCC have displayed utter contempt for our courts and the country’s judicial system. It is ironic that these are the same courts the EFCC routinely runs to for orders which they zealously implement in the discharge of their mandate under the EFCC Act. It is not for EFCC and its leadership to pick and choose which court orders to obey or disregard. That is an invitation to anarchy. What is more, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

It is further recalled that the courts have severally cited the EFCC and its chairman for contempt, even as stiff damages have been awarded against the commission, thereby dissipating scarce public resources.

It is more worrisome that Mr. Ubani, an ardent critic, activist and social crusader, was asked to personally take his client on bail by Mr. Magu, the EFCC having rejected top civil servants it earlier demanded. Was this a ploy to silence the former NBA chieftain and unrelenting social critic?

Also, the fact that EFCC is apparently complicit in the alleged disappearance of Mr. Ubani’s client further questions the modus operandi and institutional integrity of the anti-graft agency. This follows Mr. Ubani’s posers thus: “Why will EFCC from another unit (Enugu) invade the home of a suspect (Dr. Mrs. Olejeme) who is on bail with them, more so when the matter they came for is purely a civil matter which was already in court? Why the long wait to charge a woman whom EFCC declared wanted since last year and who came back in December and was granted bail early January and up to now, no charge? Was this issue of rejecting valid sureties and insisting that I should be the one to stand for her a ploy to embarrass me for bringing the woman back from abroad to respond to her charges? Why am I being asked to produce her when it is the same EFCC that invaded her home when she was under bail? It is pertinent to point out that later in the day, the investigating officer in Abuja confirmed that the EFCC officials who came from Enugu got permission from the Acting Chairman (Magu) to come and arrest Dr. Olejeme. These and many other questions demand answers!”

We demand immediate release of Mr. Ubani and his co-applicant in line with the subsisting order of the Federal High Court.

Further, we demand a high-powered judicial enquiry into the allegations of complicity and dereliction of duty leveled against the EFCC and its leadership. The time to sanitize EFCC and rid it of corruption is now! Enough is enough!

We urge the Federal Government to take immediate steps to ensure that EFCC does not derail its avowed commitment to the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights of citizens. This has become more pressing given the presence of many senior lawyers including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN in the Buhari Administration.

The EFCC’s Gestapo-style regime of holding citizens for weeks and months without trial and at times without valid court orders must stop. Nigeria is not a banana republic. Attempts by institutions of state to ridicule the country and make it seem like a lawless fiefdom must be resisted by all citizens and the international community.

Signed
Chief Chuks Ikokwu
President
Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society)
01/04/2019

RELEASE MONDAY ONYEKACHI UBANI, ESQ AND HONOURABLE CHRISTOPHER ENAI ON BAIL!!!

The Governing Council and distinguished learned members of the Eastern Bar Forum ably led by Chief Arthur Elvis Chukwu, Esq., ACIArb., KSJI., hereby lend its voice and support to the order of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that is currently keeping in its custody Monday Onyekachi UBANI, Esq and Honourable Christopher Enai since 19/03/2019, bring them before a court of law charged with the offences they are alleged to have committed or release them on bail as already ordered by the court. Nigeria is in a constitutional democracy where respect for rule of law reigns supreme. The EBF seriously deprecates the EFCC’s disobedience to court order and urges it to do the needful.

George Fortune Igbikikuno Esq., Publicity Secretary, EBF.

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