The Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN-led Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) has vowed to take urgent steps to ensure release of Mr. Abubakar Marshal, a lawyer remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre for allegedly standing as surety for firebrand human rights activist, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the committee frowned at the arrest and prosecution of the embattled lawyer, saying “that the Area Courts in the FCT cannot assume criminal jurisdiction” over a matter dealing with whether a suspect has jumped bail.
The committee assured that it is “presently taking urgent steps to ensure the immediate release of Mr. Marshal and that any defaulting party, be it the bench, the bar or any security agency alike, is appropriately sanctioned.”
It said that the arrest and remand of Mr. Marshal at the Kuje Correctional Centre “is a manifestation of gross impunity and conspicuous disdain for rule of law and the due process of law. Further to which we presently encourage anyone with useful information and/or evidence as regards all the facts and circumstances surrounding Mr. Marshal’s incarceration to urgently reach out to the NBA-SARC, to aid in the attainment of justice.”
Below is the full text of the statement.
STATEMENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION – SECURITY AGENCIES RELATIONS COMMITTEE (NBA-SARC) ON THE ARREST OF MR ABUBAKAR MARSHAL
1. In keeping with the mandates of the NBA-SARC, the Committee has taken cognizance of online media reports which inter-alia suggest that an Area Court sitting in Kabusa in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja has ordered that a legal practitioner, Mr. Abubakar Marshal, be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre till Tuesday, March 8, 2022, on the premise of filing a lawsuit on behalf of one Mr. Omoyele Sowore against one Mr. Ned Munir Nwoko.
2. Conversely, the NBA-SARC is further aware of contrary reports in some quarters that the police only arrested Mr. Marshal, who stood as Mr. Sowore’s surety for bail, when Mr. Sowore jumped bail. These contrary reports further claim that after Mr. Marshal on February 24, 2022, assured the Police of producing Mr. Sowore on the next date, being February 25, 2022, slated for continuation of investigation, neither Mr. Sowore nor Mr. Marshal was in attendance at the Police Station on the said date.
3. Assuming without conceding that Mr. Marshal stood surety for Mr. Sowore who allegedly jumped bail, the FCT High Court in the case of Gladys Chukwu v. Hon Gambo Garba FCT/HC/M/4499/19 and Barr. Anugo Ifeanyi Chuwu v. The Grand Khadi Sharia Court of Appeal & 2 Ors, FCT/HC/CV/2107/14 have held that the Area Courts in the FCT cannot assume criminal jurisdiction, and the instant circumstance is not any different.
4. We, therefore, unreservedly condemn this present illegality and are presently taking urgent steps to ensure the immediate release of Mr. Marshal and that any defaulting party, be it the bench, the bar or any security agency alike, is appropriately sanctioned. Indeed, the arrest and subsequent remand of Mr. Marshal at the Kuje Correctional Centre is a manifestation of gross impunity and conspicuous disdain for rule of law and the due process of law. Further to which we presently encourage anyone with useful information and/or evidence as regards all the facts and circumstances surrounding Mr. Marshal’s incarceration to urgently reach out to the NBA-SARC, to aid in the attainment of justice.
5. While we continue to call for collective support, please be reassured that all efforts are in top gear towards ensuring that justice prevails and that necessary sanctions are meted out to anyone found wanting in the present circumstances. It cannot be business as usual for injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.
Long live the Nigerian Bar Association.
DATED THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 6, 2022
Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN
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