In this paper presented at the 1st Hybrid Townhall Meeting organized by the Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) on the theme, “Lawyers, Security Agencies and the Rule of Law,” MR. MELA AUDU NUNGHE SAN argues that the NBA through its committees and in collaboration with the authorities should focus on sensitizing lawyers and security operatives on the need to foster the rule of law by maintaining cordial relations



Mela Audu Nunghe, SAN
[Magayaki Tangale]
Founder & Principal Partner, Samkong Chambers
Mela Audu Nunghe, S.A.N & Co
79, Ebitu Ukiwe Street, Jabi, Abuja
Website: www.samkongchambers.com

Paper presented at the 1st Hybrid Townhall Meeting on the theme: Lawyers, Security Agencies and the Rule of Law.
Organized by the Nigerian Bar Association – Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC)
Held at the Auditorium, NBA National Secretariat, Abuja/Virtual.
On Tuesday, April 5, 2022 by 12:00 noon

The rule of law is a liberty centered constitutional concept which rides on the compelling conclusion that everything must be done in compliance with and according to the law. This assertion renders it abundantly obvious, that the composition of the key players in the quest to enhance, entrench and sustain this concept, consists of the ministers in justice’s own temple who must at all times observe, uphold and promote the rule of law by virtue of their calling as legal professionals on the one hand, and the agencies who are saddled with the statutory mandate to enforce and ensure due observance of the law in all of human transactions in a democratic society , on the other hand – hence, lending credence to the fact that there can be no overstating the need for the maintenance of continuous harmonious interrelationship between them in order to constantly adhere to best democratic practices prevailing in civilized nations, enthrone the ends of justice, respect and protect fundamental rights of citizens, maintain law, order, secure and peaceful co-existence and invariably, guarantee growth and economic emancipation in any given polity (in this context, Nigeria).

Historically, there is no exactitude of date as to when the concept was first formulated as a legal or philosophical construct. However, as a phrase, it was adopted as far back as the 17th Century but as a classical concept it is arguably linked to the ancient Greece nation and in its present form and content, it is an acceptable politico-legal phenomenon which transcends the boundaries of societies and attained universal uniformity as the conception that no one single being is immune to the law. In the same breadth, the concise meaning of the concept is as yet elusive, thus compelling the conclusion that it is an elusive construction which has over the years given rise to rampant divergence of understandings. Although, the consensus has been long formed that the modern exposition of the rule of law be credited to Albert Venn Dicey, KC, FBA,(Usually cited as A.V. Dicey).

Against this background, this paper undertakes to underscore some of the various meanings and interpretation ascribed to the rule of law, pointing out its key characteristics and the extent of its application in the Nigerian context with a view to expounding the necessity of ensuring a formidable and healthy or harmonious collaboration between legal practitioners and security agencies towards enhancing cum entrenching its subsistence, and it x-rays some of the challenges to which it looks at the accompanying prospects and makes recommendations that could serve as signpost for both improvement and solutions.

The rather commonly cited phrase ‘rule of law’, subscribes to no universally adopted definition, although, this is not unusual as it is the case with most legal and academic concepts. However, there exist numerous attempted definitions and perhaps, descriptions with which the subject matter has come to be associated over the course of time, by scholars, judicial officers, writers, jurists and even the lawmakers, across jurisdictions and their inherent peculiarities. Little wonder therefore, why it has been succinctly summed up as a “nebulous concept whose meaning and content vary from place to place and time to time”.

Notably still, is the fact that a common denominator is apparent in whatever conceptualization is eventually resorted to, which is that, the rule of law emphasizes the need to sustain an inviolable balance in civilized societies built upon the fundamentals of equity, fair play, justice, good governance and safeguarding of human rights.

In fact, there is to be found in a number of international instruments, provisions touching on some portions of rule of law, for instance, in the preamble to the United Nations Charter, the Peoples of the United Nations reiterate “faith in fundamental human rights in the dignity and worth of the human person, is the equal rights of men and women….” And in a similar vein, Article 1 (3) of the Charter stipulates that one of the purposes of the establishment of the United Nations is the “promotion and encouragement of respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion” (a replica of this provision is also contained under Article 2 of the Charter of the African Union).

Be that as it may, the rule of law presupposes the notion that in order for a given society to function properly, orderly, fairly and even smoothly, all of its members who constitute the fabric of its legitimate existence, must, at all times, agree to and accordingly abide by a common and binding set of rules, called the ‘law’.

According to Malemi, the “rule of law is the observance, application and supremacy of civil or regular laws as opposed to arbitrary laws and arbitrariness, martial law, emergency law or military rule. It is the law which is reasonably justiciable in a democratic society. Hence, all persons in Nigeria are under Nigerian law or within the Nigerian rule of law.” This perspective appears to lean towards emphasizing the maintenance and upholding of a legitimate legal and political system, recognized, amenable and acceptable to all and sundry as dominant, as opposed to dictatorship or imperialism.

To Ben Nwabueze, the rule of law is not just a doctrine about legality; it is not just a requirement that all executive actions of government affecting the individual must be backed by, and strictly in accordance with the law. It is a doctrine that requires that within the limits of the law-making power allowed by the higher law of the Constitution, the law must circumscribe the discretion it grants to government in matters affecting the interest of the individual, so as to curtail much as possible the scope of governmental arbitrariness. Hence, the rule of law is the pillar of constitutional democracy of great importance.

In the Black’s Law Dictionary, rule of law is defined as the supremacy of the regular law as opposed to arbitrary power and that, every person is subject to the ordinary law within the jurisdiction. This bears allusion to the understanding that, as a constitutional abstract, the rule of law is manifest as the bedrock of governance which demands that both the superior authority (government) and the subjects (citizens and institutions) must always conform with the dictates of the law and their actions must be legally justifiable. And in addition, that the affairs of government be carried on in a manner that does not overlap the bounds of recognized and acceptable framework of rules and principles which prevents the unfettered exercise of discretionary power–“a golden and straight net weight of law as opposed to the uncertain and crooked cord of discretion”.

Lending his learned wits to the discussion, John Locke expounded that the idea of rule of law is vividly captured in the postulation that:
“freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to everyone of that society and made by the legislative power created in it, and not to be subject to the inconstant, unknown arbitrary will of another man.”

In the year 1959, the connotation of rule of law was yet again elaborated in Delhi by the International Congress of Jurists which had in attendance 53 countries represented by 185 judges and lawyers, and at the close of event, the adopted definition of rule of law is, that it is:
“a dynamic concept for the expression and fulfillment of which jurists are primarily responsible and which should be employed not only to safeguard and advance the civil and political rights of the individual in a free society, but also to establish social, economic, educational and cultural conditions under which his legitimate aspirations and dignity may be realized.”

The foregoing definition is all-encompassing and one that took a sharp departure from the conventional presupposition of the concept which dwelt mainly on political and civil rights, to now embrace in addition, socio-economic, educational and cultural rights, hence, presenting a modern-approach definition.

In the case of Arthur Yates & Co. Property Ltd. v. Vegetable Seeds Committee, the court, per Herring CJ enunciated that:
“It is not the English view of law that whatever is officially done is law… on the contrary, the principle of English law is that what is done officially must be done in accordance with the law.”

As if to re-echo the above dictum, the Nigerian Court in the celebrated case of Shugaba v. Minister of Internal Affairs held inter alia that the rule of law ensures equality of all persons without any distinction, that it also guarantees transparency and incorruptibleness and must be preferred.

Flowing from the collection of meanings and expositions ascribed to the concept of the rule of law, what becomes glaring is that it is impossible to draw out a single variable which adequately sums up and clarifies the central idea behind it. Suffice it to submit then, that the concept of rule of law will be best appreciated by reference to three major indicators as postulated by A. V. Dicey, which though, are not without their shortcomings but are apt for our discussion and will thus be succinctly examined.

In his lectures at the University of Oxford, the Vinerian Professor of English Law, A. V. Dicey, professed the famous tripartite indicators of the existence of rule of law in any given society; supremacy of the law, equality of all before the law and individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

2.1.1. Supremacy of the Law
According to Dicey, “the rule of law means in the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even wide discretionary authority on the part of the government… a man may be punished for a breach of law, but he can be punished for nothing else”.

Elegantly eloquent as Dicey’s first indicator seems, it has been heavily faulted on the ground that not only is the adoption of the term ‘regular law’ too ambiguous to discern especially in the Nigerian context, reference to the phrase ‘arbitrary power’ is also unfitting as it could be considered subjective in context given the fact that arbitrariness comes into play where the executive applies its powers in a manner not authorized by law or conducts itself beyond the parameters set by the law, but then, confusion arises when an executive may though be permitted under regular law as conceived by Dicey but still runs contrary to the supreme law of the land (being the Constitution), the most common example being military decrees and promulgations in Nigeria.

2.1.2 Equality before the Law
Laying emphasis on this principle, the Professor maintained that every citizen, inclusive of government officials, must be subjected and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts of the land. Specifically, he averred that “the rule of law means equality before the law or the equal subjection of all classes and manners of persons to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law court.”

Respecting court orders, observance of the due process of law, fair and equitable treatment of all parties before the court, unbiased rulings and judgments, judicial activism, absence of fear, favor or friction in the timely administration and dispensation of justice among others, would all conveniently constitute components of the idea of equality before the law. For instance, in the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu the supreme court extensively reaffirmed the compelling necessity to respect and obey court orders and accordingly stated among other considerations, that “it is a very serious matter for anyone to flout a positive order of a court and proceed to insult the court further by seeking a remedy in a higher court while still in contempt.”

Regardless, this second ambit of Dicey’s components of rule of law, has also been criticized on the basis that the idea of treating everyone as equal before the law is both far-fetched and fallacious, because according to Aristotle, “a law that treats equals as unequal denies equality as the law which treats unequal as equals.” This philosophical viewpoint goes to expose that it is ideal but impractical to insist on attaining equal status for every person before the law in a setting where the system, classes and affairs of men are generally unequal, as even the law itself in some cases, directly or indirectly makes it so, by according certain privileges and immunities to a portion of persons over and above others. Not to mention also that there exist, other forms of special purpose courts and bodies which are though not ordinary courts of the land as used in Dicey’s second expression, yet they are saddled with performing judicial or quasi-judicial functions of enforcing the law and determining the rights, duties and liabilities of parties, such as election Tribunals, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Court Martial, Public Complaint Commission and so on.

2.1.3 Individual Rights Guaranteed by the Constitution
Dicey gave a third attribution to the rule of law doctrine by postulating that “the rule of law of the Constitution, the rules which in foreign countries naturally form part of a constitutional code, are not the source but the consequence of the rights of individuals, as defined and enforced by the courts, that in short, the principles of private law have with us been by the action of the Courts and Parliament so extended as to determine the position of the Crown and of its servants; thus the Constitution is the result of the ordinary law of the land”.

This last assertion has been held as being too narrowed down to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom which operates on an unwritten Constitution and being Dicey’s place of reference and hence, it is not suited to a country like Nigeria where the fundamental rights of its citizens has been expressly provided for, guaranteed and safeguarded by the Constitution and made enforceable by the Courts (when redress is sought by an individual upon actual or likely violation of their rights, relying on the Constitution) as opposed to being defined or determined by Courts or derived from the actions of the parliament.

In sum, Niki Tobi JSC (of blesseth memory) summed it all up by reiterating in laconic terms that the rule of law in eyes of Dicey which though has been brought under criticism in the face of overriding realities of our time and society, still remains the optimum articulation of the concept available. That the rule of law in fact, entails (i) Supremacy of the law over arbitrary power; (ii) Subjecting everyone to the laws of the land and applying sanctions and punitive measures when disobeyed, thus making everyone equal before the law; and (iii) Guaranteeing the fundamental rights of the individual as inalienable and undeniable save as permitted under the Constitution.

The contemporary interpretation of the doctrine of law refers to a cluster of ideas, the best known being related to the principle of legality, prescription of procedural standards in the administration of justice, the separation of powers, promotion of material justice and individual rights and the maintenance of public order.

In January 1961 in Lagos during an African Conference on the rule of law, the Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Ademola Adetokunbo expressed his dissent to the argument that the concept of the rule of law is exclusively an Anglo-American construct and noted in his address before the session that:

“It has been said that the rule of law is mainly an Anglo-American institution, that the concept of ‘government under law’ and such phrases as the ‘supremacy of the law’ or the ‘rule of law’ are all purely western inventions…. The African, it was suggested, might find a third legal system which is neither ‘the rule of law’ nor socialist legality propounded by the communists. But the rule of law is not a western idea, nor is it linked up with any economic or social system. As soon as you accept that man is governed by law and not by whims of man, it is rule of law. It may be under different forms from country to country but it is based on principles; it is not an abstract notion.” (Underlined for emphasis)

Thus, in Nigeria, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) has laid down the legal framework for the operation and legitimacy of a democratic government, and thus it recognizes and accommodates, to a large extent, Dicey’s proposition of the triangular representation of the rule of law.

First, the conception of the absolute supremacy or predominance of the regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power in Nigeria is captured under the Constitution by virtue of its Supremacy as enshrined in Section 1 (1) thereof, which provides thatthis Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons through out the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The foregoing provision implies that powers must be exercised according to the provision of the grundnorm being the fountain of all laws in the land. This is brought to the fore by the conclusion that power must be exercised in conformity with the basic and ordinary laws of the land and the presupposition that there must not be executive lawlessness in any country where the rule of law is in operation. Hence, the law must function independent of any hindrance and all actions be dispensed with in line with the law, that is why the 1999 Constitution renders null and void, the provision of any law that is inconsistent with its provision and that it shall prevail. A very recent case on this point is that of Udeogu v. FRN where the full bench of the apex court held inter alia that “…Section 396 (7) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 is inconsistent with the Constitution, particularly Section 290 (1) thereof . Therefore, by operation of Section 1 (3) of the Constitution, Section 396 (7) of the ACJA, 2015, to the extent of its inconsistency with Section 290 (1) of the Constitution, is void”. See also, Chief Nduka Adede vs AGF, (Unreported) Suit No FHC/UM/CS/26/22, where Hon. Justice Nyadike held that Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provision of section 66(1) (f), section 107 (1) (f), section 137 (1) (g) and section182(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended), and consequently ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to expunge Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 forthwith for its inconsistency with the Constitution.

Secondly, on the principle of equality before the law, although Dicey postulates that it is meant to ensure that all citizens no matter how well connected, rich or powerful – are judged for their actions by the same laws, equally applied. Equality before the law is one of the core ways in which citizens can ensure that government officials, the rich, the powerful and the well-connected do not become a caste apart, yet, the current realities prevailing in Nigeria are in direct contrast to this ideal, as various events have continued to prove the fact that equality before the law only exists on paper but in practical sense, the cost of attaining justice for example, by recourse to the formal adversarial process has been made so prohibitively expensive such that it is out of the reach of the common man, not to add to the raging technicalities, delays, unnecessary adjournments, trickery by lawyers and the excruciation of climbing the courts’ hierarchy from the lower to the apex cadre and the costs associated with each stage visits untold hardship and inequality on the common man , as well as the flagrant disregard for court orders by those in position of authority. In the case of Kalu v. EFCC there was a Court Order on 31st day of May, 2007,restraining the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Orji Uzo Kalu, the then Governor of Abia State. But the EFCC went ahead and prosecuted him flouting the Court Order. Therefore, the Counsel to Kalu petitioned the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General that the charge against his client was in breach of the rule of law.

On the question of individual rights vis-à-vis the Constitution, the rule of law connotes respect for human rights, it involves respect for and protection of human rights by government, its servants and agents and by everyone in the country. Without human rights there can be no justice, and life is meaningless. Albeit, the provisions of Chapter II and IV of the 1999 Constitution(as amended) essentially contemplates Dicey’s idea of rule of law, but the fact that Chapter II has been made non-justiciable by the provisions of Section 6 (6) (c) thereof, largely undermines the practicability of the absolute application of the rule of law and indirectly reduces the potency of the fundamental rights of the citizens as the two chapters are invariably connected.

To promote uniformity in the contextualization, understanding and application of the rule of law, the United Nations Secretary General in his report to the Security Council in 2004, provided detailed analysis bothering on the collective participation of all relevant institutions and authorities in order to enhance, maintain and ensure its near absolute observance across all layers of the societies, as captured in these words:

‘The ‘rule of law’ refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights, norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency’.

This submission alludes to the practical idea that the rule of law engenders a collection of principles that can only be felt in real sense through the interdependent efforts of law-related institutions in the society in order to inform their structure, reform, operation, monitoring and evaluation. There is quite a plethora of them in the Nigerian architecture but this paper centers on the legal practitioners and security operatives who are regarded as the primary agents of rule of law in the day to day affairs of the human society vis-à-vis their complementarily with each other and with other key institutions and organs to be found in a democratic dispensation.

In Nigeria, the Bar is made up of all persons who have been duly enrolled and thus qualified to practice law in Nigeria pursuant to the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act, irrespective of the aspect of the law they specialize in and the capacity in which they choose to practice subsequent to their enrolment; it could be as advocates, solicitors, academics, corporate practitioners, legal advisers, in-house counsel, public officers, judges or quasi-judicial officers or private practice among others. As such, the point must be made emphatically that a legal practitioner is more than merely someone actively engaged in the aspect of litigation or property transactions as generally misconceived by the laymen to mean lawyers.

Accordingly, this discussion centers on the role of the members of the Nigerian Bar Association in enhancing the rule of law, regardless of the capacity or mode in which they practice law but will exclude judicial officers as they are better referred to as the bench.

The role of lawyers in the enhancement and entrenchment of the rule of law has been eloquently summarized by Yusuf O. Ali, SAN thus:
“The last hope of the common man in this nation is in the courts of the land, which are the Temple of justice. The Bar is the collective noun of Lawyers who are in the main, Ministers in the Temple of Justice. Rule of Law is not an end itself, but a means to an end. The end result of Rule of Law is nothing but justice. Rule of law cannot therefore thrive, unless Ministers in the Temple of justice contribute their quotas.”

To this end, some of the roles lawyers are required to play include but not restricted to the following sub-headings:
(i) Upholding and Respecting the Rule of Law: It would be rather paradoxical to hear of lawyers who do not accord and uphold the set of principles governing the basis upon which they conduct their professional pursuit. This explains why Section 2 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association stipulate the main objective of the bar in no unclear provision by stating that “The promotion of the principle of the Rule of Law including fundamental liberties and the independence of the judiciary”. This commands that lawyers in whatever status they operate must at all times desist from being found wanting in conducts that constitute an affront to the principles of rule of law. For example, instances where members of the noble profession participate in, aid or abate the unlawful prosecution of individuals or their detention without observance of the due process of law, robs rule of law of its objective of enthroning quality before the law and preserving human rights.

(ii) Awareness Creation and Sensitization on the Rule of Law: Lawyers are equally duty bound to create avenue via which the people can be made to fully grasp and appreciate the importance and divergent reaches of the concept of rule of law. Legal educators equally have a pressing role to play in this regard particularly in their teaching and research models by propagating the need to uphold and observe the tenets of the doctrine as a recipe for the maintenance of civilized existence. According to T. O. Elias the only viable means through which lawyers can keep Nigerians well-informed about the rule of law is to break it down in this fashion:

• That the rule of law is an indispensable tool for economic development, orderly advancement and social progress of our fatherland;
• That it is a preservative measure for their moral and cultural improvement; and
• It is the only means through which the unity of the various ethnic groups in the nation can be achieved.
• All known forms of advocacy, activism by lawyers and other civil societies must be directed at practicing obedience or compliance with every letter and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) first, and other extant laws that are consistent thereof and judicial pronouncements i.e judgments and orders made by competent courts in our land.

(iii) Promoting Human Rights: Actual or threatened Infraction of the fundamental and sacred rights enshrined in the Constitution take place every day to the chagrin of the masses and the seeking of redress for such violations are by law, done in the courts of law, hence the onus is exclusively placed on lawyers who have been given the trust to adequately and promptly secure the granting of reliefs on behalf of the affected party. And this, lawyers must be with fervent vigor and exceptional level of commitment in order not just to restore the lost confidence in the profession but to also serve as an avenue through which the doctrine of rule of law may be fully actualized and enhanced in Nigeria. See James Yusuf Danboyi & 10 others vs COAS & Anor

Some of the security agencies who are at the heart of the application of the rule of law in Nigeria and the role they can and should play in the quest to continuously improve upon and stretch the tentacles of rule of law in Nigeria are here examined.

3.2.1 The Nigerian Police
This agency of the Federal Government is primarily responsible for the maintenance of law and order. The Nigeria Police Force (Establishment) Act, 2020, came in to force on the 17th September, 2020, and it repealed the Police Act, 2004. The general objective of the new Act is to provide an effective police service that is based on the principles of accountability, transparency, protection of human rights, and partnership with other security agencies.

In fact, the role of the Nigerian Police in the promotion of rule of law has been codified in the enabling Act as their functions and duties. These have vividly cut across the trajectory of the principles of rule of law and especially lean towards the protection of fundamental rights of individuals, collaborating with sister agencies to ensure and maintain public safety, peace, law and order, crime prevention, detection and prosecution, protection of lives and properties of the citizens among others. In carrying out these duties, they assume the pivotal role of ensuring equality of persons before the law, its supremacy as well as respecting human rights. The court in justifying the exercise of powers of arrest and detention by the police held in the case of Isiaka Adeboye &Ors v. Saheeto International Ltd. &Ors that:

“The powers of the Nigerian Police Force, with regards to crime prevention, detection and prosecution, are very wide indeed, to the extent that the Nigerian Police force has the power to detain and question anyone reasonably suspected to have committed or connected to the commission of a crime, within a limited timeframe and in a humane and responsible manner.”

No matter how one attempts to stretch it further, their roles in this noble objective cannot exceed the confines of the legislation directly regulating their operations otherwise they shall be acting beyond their powers which would result in an abuse of the rule of law rather than entrenching it. In this regard, see the case of: KURE v. C.O.P. (2020) (pt. 1729) Pg 296 @ 326, Para B-F, where the Supreme Court per Abba Aji JSC stated: “ The primary duty of the police by Section 4 of the Police Act is the prevention of crime, investigation and detection of crime and prosecution and punishment of offenders….The police is not a debt recovery agency and has no business to dabble into contractual disputes between parties arising from purely civil transactions…..when as is the circumstances of this action, a purely civil matter is reported, such a person cannot go scot-free as the report ought not to have been made at all since it is not within the purview of police duties. It is a report made malafide and he will be equally liable for the action taken by the police irrespective of whether he actively instigated them or not, since he had no business involving the Police in a purely civil matter in the first place. Such conduct which portrays disregard of the law and is amimed at using the coercive powers of the state to punish a contracting party in a purely civil matter ought to be mulcted in exemplary damages.” See also Okafor and anor v. AIG Police Zone II Onikan & Ors (2019) LPELR-46505

3.2.2 The Nigerian Armed Forces
The role of the military generally has been patently defined under the 1999 Constitution by the combined effect of Sections 217 and 218 thereof. Section 217 relates to the composition and establishment of the armed forces of the Federation, while Section 218 focuses on command and operational use of the armed forces of Nigeria. Sub-section (1) of Section 217 in particular is to the effect that there shall be an armed forces for the Federation which shall consist of an Army, a Navy and Air Force and such other branches of the armed forces as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly, while Sub-section (2) states that the Federation shall subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces, as may be considered adequate, expedient and effective for the purpose of:

(a) defending Nigeria from external aggression
(b) maintaining its territorial integrity and securing the borders from violation on land, sea or air
(c) suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly; and
(d) Performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
It is in discharging these functions that officers of the Nigerian Armed Force contribute their quota to the enhancement and retention of the cherished doctrine of rule of law in the country. See James Yusuf Danboyi v. COAS & Anor (Supra)

3.2.3 State Security Service
The Department of State Services or State Security Services is yet another key institution that plays a role in the detection and prevention of crime in the country, particularly those targeted against the state and in the course of discharging its mandates it is duty-bounden to uphold and respect the rule of law.

The department was initially created by the military government and has been maintained as a special service under the civilian dispensation to nurture, preserve and protect the country’s democratic governance. It is enabled to perform its roles and functions principally by Instrument SSS No. 1 of 1999 made pursuant to Section 6 of the National Security Agencies (NSA) Act 1986.

The primary functions of the agency are inclusive of the undermentioned:
• Prevention and Detection of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;
• Protection and Preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria;
• Prevention, Detection and Investigation of threats of espionage, subversion, sabotage, terrorism, separatist agitations, Inter-group conflicts, Economic crimes of National security dimensions and threats to law and order;
• Provision of protective security for designated principal government functionaries, sensitive installations and visiting dignitaries;
• Provision of timely advice to government on all matters of National Security interest and
• Such other functions as may, from time to time, be assigned to it.

To sum it up, these duties must be carried out lawfully, in other words with utmost regard to the rule of law as held in the recent case of The State Security Service &Ors v. The Incorporated Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria &Ors

3.2.4 Defense Intelligence Agency
This agency was established by the National Security Agency Act and saddled with the central responsibility for defense related intelligence within and outside Nigeria. The Agency’s main preoccupation is the protection and preservation of all military matters concerning the security of Nigeria. It coordinates the intelligence activities of the Intelligence Directorates of the Armed Services; Military Intelligence (DMI0, Naval Intelligence (DNI) and Air Force Intelligence (DAI).

They complement the role of the DSS and Military in ensuring and maintaining national security and cohesion, which are necessary recipes for the subsistence of rule of law.

3.2.5 Other Paramilitary Units
All other security outfits and paramilitary institutions in Nigeria have vital roles to play in the promotion and reenactment of the rule of law, as their duties are often intertwined and they constitute the pillars of civilized human existence in Nigeria. Those units such as the National Security Civil Defense Corps, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs Service and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency are all critical stakeholders and agents in the actualization of the core objectives of the rule of law and democratic excellence within the polity. In their facilitation of internal security and protection of lives and properties of the citizens, ensuring the lawful commute of persons into and outside the shores of the country, monitoring the import and export of goods and maintaining effective border relations with neighboring jurisdictions to enforce compliance with the laws and preventing the sell, consumption and movement of illegal drugs and narcotics among other key functions of these government anti-graft authorities, places them at the cynosure of enhancing and entrenching the rule of law in Nigeria.

The Security agencies must first establish and maintain a robust inter-agency collaborative mechanism among themselves to ensure co-ordination and systemic performance of their roles in enhancing and entrenching the rule of law across all layers of their operations such as crime prevention and control, maintaining law, order, peace and security and national integration. And to their credit, they have considerably achieved this with examples abound, prominent amongst which was the case of arrest of Boko Haram leader, Yusuf Muhammed by the soldiers and handed over to the Police Force in Borno State for onward investigation and prosecution. Similarly, the officers of the Nigerian Custom Service arrested the former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was on exile in Nigeria while attempting to escape from the country and gave him up to Nigerian Immigration Service. Also, the ground combat by the military, the air strikes by the Air Force, grilling at different flash points by the Police and the intelligence gathering and use by the DSS (internally) and the NIA (internationally) are producing and yielding some applaudable outcomes. Hence, the continuous exhibition of such concerted efforts and synergy and extending into all other spheres of operations will invariably aid and entrench the observance of rule of law in the country as it shows that the law is not only held supreme but it is duly obeyed and all persons are treated equally before the law and the rights of the citizens are less infringed against.

Once the above tempo is improved upon and sustained, harmoniously collaborating with the lawyers becomes less herculean. The role of the lawyers as already established resides in upholding and respecting the rule of law, creating awareness and promoting human rights in handling the causes of their clients and in their general conduct as ministers in the temple of justice. As such, where well-coordinated inter-agency approach is on ground, legal practitioners are thus accorded the fertile ground to ensure strict compliance with laid down procedures in the areas of arrest, detention, investigation and prosecution of all manners of suspects and criminals, treatment of terrorists, corrupt government officials and so on. And to also insist on compliance with orders and judgment of the courts to maintain its hallowed status and restore confidence in the judicial system being a key institution in the rule of law landscape.

Some of the challenges militating against the achievement of a seamless collaboration among lawyers and the security agencies in entrenching the rule of law over the years feature some of the following issues:

 There is the presence of general feeling of animosity and perhaps, threat, exhibited by most of the security agencies, especially the police towards lawyers whenever the latter has reason to pay them a visit to secure the release of or interact with their clients held in custody of the former. This face-off often hampers the swift dispensation of justice and even negatively affects the fundamental rights of the detainee, a sharp affront to one of the pillars of rule of law.
 Indiscipline springing from a bloated sense of superiority, ignorance, lack of understanding and proper knowledge and training, undermines espiritde corps among the security agencies, which is a source of discouragement to the learned minds who have appreciable understanding of the law and its application.
 The cankerworm of corruption which hitherto continues to permeate deep into the fabrics of our society, equally hampers any bid for collaboration to enhance the rule of law
 Poor remuneration and condition of service of the security agencies causes them to resort to cutting-corners and all other avenues through which to sustain themselves in acute disregard for the observance of the rule of law and this makes it practically difficult for the lawyers to find themselves on the same page with them.

The prospects envisioned for Nigeria’s rule of law regime where harmonious collaboration could be fully achieved and made to endure the test of time, are indeed quite innumerable, but are reduced into the following:

 The speedy administration of justice will become a reality and no longer a myth as all the unwarranted technicalities often associated with the criminal justice process will be drastically reduced if not eliminated and conducts of the operatives will be carried out in accordance with the law.
 Confidence will be restored in the judicial and legal system in the country, thus leveling the ground for winning the lasting war against corruption and ushering in rapid economic growth, peace and serene nationhood.
 Such collaborations will also boost the morale of the security agencies knowing that they are working hands-in-gloves with professionals who truly understand the essence of the law and are working on the same agenda as them to enhance the rule of law.
 The society becomes a safe haven of sorts where respect for the law is assured and there is a general feeling of equal treatment of all before the law among the populace.

In light of the challenges noted above, the following recommendations are preferred:

 The Nigerian Bar Association through its many committees in collaboration with the authorities should focus more energy on sensitizing both lawyers and officers of the forces on the need to foster the growth and promotion of the rule of law in Nigeria by maintaining good and complementary working relationship in their areas of interface.
 More workshops, conferences and trainings of this nature should be organized and widened in scope across states and localities to emphasize the essence of rule of law in our democracy
 Government must galvanize efforts towards revitalizing the living conditions of the security agencies in order to rekindle their sense of patriotism and to consider themselves as indispensable cogs in the wheel of enhancing the rule of law
 Legal educators also have a critical role to play in their modes of teaching and imbibing in the trainees who will become legal professionals on the immense essence of the rule of law. They equally must publish researched papers and organize public speeches to trash out these issues.
 The fight against corruption must now more than ever, become more vigorous in order to arrest and address the lingering consequences it hitherto bears on our entire political terrain.

A detailed adumbration on the origin, meaning and the tripartite indicators of the rule of law have been extensively provided along with a legal perspective on the contemporary texture of rule of law in Nigeria. The paper addressed the independent roles of legal practitioners and select security agencies in the architecture of rule of law in Nigeria and attempted to draw out the need and instances of their collaborative engagements towards not just enhancing but equally sustaining the rule of law in Nigeria.


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In this Opening Address at the recent “Town Hall Meeting,” Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC), CHIEF JOE-KYARI GADZAMA SAN says the committee has successfully intervened in over 15 cases involving NBA members. He however notes that all hands must be on deck in the task of bridging the trust gap between lawyers and security operatives



Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN, FNIALS, FICMC, DiplCArb, FNICArb, FCIArb, C.Arb
(Of Lincoln’s Inn, Barrister/Life Bencher/Certified Mediator/Regulatory Consultant)
Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association – Security Agencies Relations Committee
Sardauna of Uba, Okwulora of Ukpo and Bobajiro of Akure Kingdom,
Founding Principal Partner of J-K Gadzama LLP

ON APRIL 5, 2022.


I once read these golden words from Mark Twain: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Mr. Olumide Akpata has breathed life into these words as I know them. He started. He is ahead. As you may all recall, the Nigerian Bar Association-Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) was constituted at the National Executive Council meeting held on Thursday, December 16, 2021 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and inaugurated by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the NBA National Secretariat. The need and urgency that propelled the Akpata-led NBA to constitute such a committee as the NBA-SARC, cannot be overemphasized, especially in the face of reoccurring cases of harassment of legal practitioners by security agencies.

To bridge the trust-gap between lawyers and security agencies, the importance of a relations committee cannot be overstretched. Strong relationships of mutual trust between security agencies and the legal community are critical to maintaining public safety and effective policing. Security agencies among other measures rely on the cooperation of legal practitioners in ensuring that the three-way traffic of justice is attained – for the victims, the perpetrators, and society. A lawyer’s willingness to therefore trust any security agency depends on whether they believe that such actions of the security agencies reflect the values, ideals and principles of procedural justice and legitimacy.

It will therefore not be out-of-place to refer to the NBA-SARC as a child of necessity, born to provide succour to the recurring trends of maltreatment of legal practitioners by security operatives whilst these legal practitioners discharge their official duties and obligations to clients. Such was our task, urgent and delicate, with no room for laxity, for time was of the essence and much was/is indeed at stake when the very custodians and ministers in the temple of justice are endangered, harassed, intimidated, and threatened in the course of carrying on their sacred and noble practice of the law. May the day never come when lawyers will cow to such wanton display of impunity.

It is consequent upon the foregoing urgency and delicate mandate of ours that we have set forth legal and diplomatic mechanisms, in a bid to reduce, and possibly eradicate the incessant cases of harassment of legal practitioners across the country.


Success demands singleness of purpose, this is even truer for the NBA-SARC in its present drive, where objectives have been narrowed down and concentrated on but a few things at a time. Mr. President has ably notified the NBA – SARC of its terms of reference, which are as hereunder highlighted:

1. Formulate policies to be implemented by the NBA (whether alone or in collaboration with other stakeholders) that will deal holistically with the risk posed to Nigerian lawyers by security agencies.

2. Collaborate with the relevant security agencies to promote and advance a mutually beneficial relationship between the said agencies and lawyers in Nigeria.

3. Develop and promote proper protocols for engagement with security agencies by lawyers, in the course of carrying out their professional duties.

4. Work with the various branches of the NBA to achieve, at the branch level, objectives that are similar to those set out in these terms of reference.

5. Promptly intervene in cases of harassment, unlawful detention, intimidation, etc. of lawyers (in the course of carrying out their professional duties) by security agencies.

6. Carry out any other function that may be assigned to the Committee by the President or the National Executive Council; and

7. Make recommendations to the NBA President as appropriate and carry out such other functions that are consistent with the foregoing or which are necessary to achieve the mandate of the Committee.


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. I consider myself supremely fortunate to lead the members of the NBA-SARC who have shown great understanding of the job required of them and the urgency with which to deliver on assignments and tasks. Indeed, I am only as strong as the weakest link in this great team. Imagine how amazed I am to know that I have got you all and your support too. I fondly remember the words of the American scientist, Mr. Jonas Edward Salk, who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines, when he said “the reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” May I on that light note commend that, you all have put in your heart and soul, it is only fair to give you even more work.

Below is also the list of the members of the NBA – SARC, and their telephone contacts:

1 Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, MFR, OFR Chairman 08022231999
2 Alex Muoka Alternate Chairman 08033009242
3 Marian Jones Secretary 08033479752
4 Taiwo Lakanu (DIG Rtd) Member 08037160989
5 Mohammad I. Tsav Member 07035653513
6 Valentine Odili Member 08035047498
7 Adanna Lynda Uba Member 08032925119
8 Chief M. A. O. Iyamanbhor Member 08037204923
9 Julie Ariahu Member 08023411581
10 Salman Alhaji Salman Member 08037252757
11 Nnaemeka Emmanuel Otagburuagu Member 08039566682
12 Peter Chukwunyelu Ikebuaso Member 08033133739
13 John Aikpokpo-Martins Member 08023063841
14 Rabiah A. Hassan Committee Liaison Officer 08063579840


After less than 3 calendar months from the NBA-SARC’s inauguration, the Committee has taken giant strides toward achieving its mandate. This is evidenced by the Committee’s plethora of successful interventions and programs. These successes will be briefly but succinctly highlighted hereunder:

I. Our Interventions:
At the risk of seeming immodest, the NBA-SARC has successfully intervened in more than 15 cases involving members of the NBA and security agencies across Nigeria since its inauguration. Permit me to, briefly run through some of these interventions:

a. One of such foremost interventions by the NBA-SARC was the case of Mr. Israel Lagbamue of the NBA Badagry Branch, Lagos State, who sometime in March, 2021, allegedly stood surety for a client in respect of a probate matter which is presently pending in Court. It was gathered that while Mr. Lagbame’s client refused to return to the police station for the continuation of investigation, Mr. Lagbame travelled to Abuja for another matter at the Nigerian Police Force headquarters where he ran into the Investigating Police Officers (IPO) in his client’s investigation, who immediately arrested and brought Mr Lagbame to the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) Area 10, Garki Abuja, where he was detained. The NBA-SARC promptly interfaced with the Nigerian Police Force and through its concerted efforts, Mr. Israel Lagbamue Esq was released.

b. Another laudable intervention of the NBA-SARC is the case of Mr. Ekilikwo Justus, a legal practitioner and member of the NBA from the NBA Idemili branch, who was detained at the IRP Abuja for a case involving a land transaction. Various attempts had been made by the Idemili branch Chairman, to secure his release but these attempts appeared to be futile as security authorities were reluctant. The security operatives were of the view that Mr. Ekilikwo Justus had a case of murder to answer and as such, should not be released from detention. However, the NBA-SARC began interfacing with the Police and other relevant security outfits in order to resolve the case of Mr. Ekilikwo Justus and presently, all discrepancies are being cleared owing to the NBA-SARC’s steadfast efforts in the matter.

c. The NBA-SARC has also intervened in the case of one Yemi Abdulkareem v NPF (LASG/JPI/233/2020. Yemi Abdulkareem was brutalized and killed by a police officer during the EndSARS protest in 2020. In line with this, his family petitioned on his behalf for a sum of 10 Million Naira. Upon the intervention of the NBA-SARC with the Nigerian Police Force and through their continued efforts, the petition was treated under the Police brutality cases. The petition made by the family was found meritorious and the family was awarded the sum of 10 Million Naira by the EndSARS Lagos Judicial Panel.

d. Furthermore, on February 7, 2022, the NBA-SARC, released a statement condemning the abduction of three members of the NBA Warri Branch. The NBA-SARC further urged the Edo State government to work hand-in-hand with the Nigerian Police Force to put in place safety measures to protect legal practitioners and the general public at large. The NBA-SARC is also pleased to announce that the abducted members have been released and are now safe. Legal practitioners, are enjoined, to now, more than ever, be on alert and security conscious.

e. The NBA – SARC has further intervened in the following matters which will be briefly highlighted: the case of one Nyiev Jennifer Mimidoo, then the case of detaining Mr Wale, Vice Chairman, Ota Branch – 18/01/2022, to condemning the Kidnap of members of Warri Branch – 6/02/2022, then the Release of Mr. Ifeanyi Okonkwo and Mr. Paulinus Ezenwaka – 13/02/2022, to the Intervention in the maltreatment of Mr. Kolawole Isaac Abubakar, Esq by Officers of the Nigerian Customs Service – 27/02/2022, followed by the case of assault of Nnamdi Samuel Nwafor, Esq., to the Intervention in the assault of Redzie Jugo, Esq. of NBA Jos Branch and condemning the Arrest of Abubakar Marshall, who is Mr, Omoyele Sowore’s lawyer – 8/03/2022.

II. Our Courtesy Visits to Relevant Security Agencies:

On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, I led the hardworking members of the NBA-SARC on courtesy visits to Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (“ICPC”), and the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(“NDLEA”), Brig. Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa (Rtd) respectively, and therein discussed the urgent need for partnership and cordial relations between the NBA, its members and officers of each of the security agencies.

On March 2, 2022, the NBA-SARC, also paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). We are scheduled to visit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sometime this month.

III. Townhall Sensitization Webinar:

On Friday, February 4, 2022, The NBA-SARC, in furtherance of its mandate, has also organized a Townhall Sensitization Webinar, to create consciousness of its mandates. This was widely attended, as issues that affect the safety and welfare of legal practitioners were on the front burner of discussions.

IV. Round Table Discussion with Executives of the NBA Branches:
On Saturday, February 19, 2022, the NBA-SARC held a virtual roundtable discussion series with Executives Committee members of all Branches of the NBA to propose ways of seamless interaction between members of the Security Agencies and members of the NBA.

V. Virtual Townhall Sensitization for Young Lawyers:
The NBA-SARC has organized a Townhall Sensitization Webinar, for the Young Lawyers Forum (YLF) of the NBA in a bid to further sensitize on the NBA-SARC mandate and advise on the best ways for seamless interaction with members of the security agencies across the country.

VI. Participation in the CLEEN Foundation Methodology Workshop Ahead of Police Reform Audit in Nigeria:
Further to the directive of the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, the NBA SARC, on February 15, 2022, participated in a methodology workshop, by CLEEN Foundation. The workshop brought together about 22 stakeholders with a focus on police reform in Nigeria to suggest and contribute to the research tools that will be deployed for the nationwide survey on police reform in Nigeria. The presentation of CLEEN Foundation methodology to stakeholders was with the view of incorporating seasoned views and opinions that will result in an effective research exercise and findings. The research was geared toward reestablishing commitment to ensuring accountability, and rights-respecting police service delivery in Nigeria.


The significance of this Townhall Meeting cannot be overstated. This Hybrid Townhall Meeting, themed “Lawyers, Security Agencies and the Rule of Law, will host sessions on topical issues such as conflict management between lawyers and security agencies, enhancing rule of law through harmonious collaboration vis-à-vis emerging issues in human rights abuses, amongst a host of other issues.

The Speaker for the Opening Plenary, DCP Simon Lough, SAN, will speak on: HISTORY OF DISPUTES BETWEEN LAWYERS AND SECURITY AGENCIES.

The Speaker for the 1st Session, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN will beam searchlights on the topic: LIKELY REASONS FOR, AND MANAGING CONFLICT BETWEEN LAWYERS AND SECURITY AGENCIES


Prof. Peter Akper SAN, the Speaker for the 3rd Session will x-ray the concept: THE RULE OF LAW, THE BEDROCK OF MANAGING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LAWYERS AND SECURITY AGENCIES, While the Speaker for the Closing Plenary, Rt. Hon Nkeiruka Onyejiocha will lend her golden voice on the topic: LAWYERS AND SECURITY AGENCIES DICHOTOMY: EMERGING ISSUES IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE.

The overall objective of this Maiden Townhall Meeting of the NBA-SARC is to champion the NBA President’s vision for prime cordial rapport between legal practitioners and security agencies across Nigeria, as well as project the urgent need for lawyers to claim the numerous benefits the NBA-SARC platform presently offers.


The NBA-SARC has also lined up a series of hybrid programs, physical and online, directed at sensitization of both personnel of security agencies and legal practitioners, viz Webinars, Workshops, Courtesy Visits, et al. tailored, ultimately, for an improved efficient and cordial relations with security agencies across the country, focally including the Nigerian Police Force.

We are raising subcommittees of the NBA-SARC at each of the 125 branches of the NBA, comprised of 5 to 15 members of the Young Lawyers’ Forum (YLF), to be headed by the Chairmen of the YLF of each branch, and the National Chairman of the NBA YLF, to be co-opted to our Committee. This will provide a prompt complaint platform, more easily accessible to members of the NBA, at the various branch level. This will also help in the collation of harassment cases and intimidation against lawyers by security agencies, and importantly, the urgency with which they are dealt with.

It is also worthy of note that the YLF provides an arsenal that can be empowered by the NBA to help in the fight against human rights abuses, thereby promoting public interest lawyering.


Let me especially appreciate the NBA President for the prime leadership, vision, and foresight in inaugurating such a committee as the NBA-SARC. Indeed, you have taken the lead in leading the NBA to the promised land of our dreams. You dreamt dreams of a better Bar, we are seeing manifestations of your invigorated drive towards stamping out a passive Bar. We see a revamped and revived NBA, conscious of the plights, yearnings, and needs of the Nigerian lawyers. We see a Bar that works for all. I must appreciate you, personally and on behalf of the NBA-SARC for always being supportive of the strives and strides of the Committee.

I must also appreciate the other National Officers of the NBA, the National Executive Council of the NBA and, the Organizing Committee of this maiden NBA-SARC Hybrid Townhall Meeting. Your collective support has been priceless and is not taken for granted.

As the NBA-SARC passionately persists in carrying out its mandates, which majorly is directed towards ensuring the safety and welfare of all legal practitioners across the country, in line with the vision of the Akpata-led NBA, we urge all members of the Bar and Branch Chairmen/Chairpersons to fully support and indulge us by recommending and reporting cases of maltreatment, harassment, unfair treatment of any legal practitioner to the NBA-SARC. The Committee can only attain its goals if it receives maximum support from all members of the Bar.

You may further reach the Committee through its official social media handles, viz: WhatsApp: NBA-SARC, YouTube Channel: NBA-SARC, Facebook: Nba Sarc, Twitter: @NbaSarc, Email: nbasarc20@gmail.com Instagram: nbasarc, Telegram: NBA-SARC. The Committee is also working on a toll-free helpline.

We cannot overstate the importance of having all hands on deck for the NBA-SARC and the NBA to supersonically take the lead in the safety and welfare of all legal practitioners across the country. Indeed, ours is a passionate commitment to always take prompt steps in liaising with the necessary security agencies to address the needs of all those affected and of interested parties. Long Live the Bar!!

Thank you.

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The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba has said that his relationship with the Bar is cordial. Justice Alogba disclosed this yesterday during a courtesy visit by the newly elected Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch led by its Chairman, Mr. Bartholomew Aguegbodo.

An unimpeachable source who attended the meeting told CITY LAWYER that though the chief judge stated that he had read the report on alleged frosty relations between him and NBA Lagos Branch, he initially declined to speak on the matter, saying that the judiciary does not respond to social media reports.

Our source said that the chief judge was however persuaded to respond to the allegation by former NBA Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani who emphasized the significant role of social media as a contemporary source of information, adding that the CITY LAWYER blog is credible and reliable.

Turning to the allegation, Justice Alogba flatly debunked any frosty relations with NBA Lagos Branch, saying that he is merely a hostage to his tight schedule. Noting that he is always shuttling between Lagos and Abuja to attend to official matters and summons, the respected jurist stated that there is no deliberate plot to shut out the Lagos Bar.

According to our source, Justice Alogba emphasized that there is no reason for frosty relations between him and the Bar, given that both the Bar and Bench are working towards speedy and effective justice delivery. Justice Alogba noted that since the Bar and the Bench are working towards a common goal, it is expedient for them to ensure a conflict-free relationship in the interest of the masses.

He used the courtesy visit to pledge more support for Ikeja branch. While asking the branch to remain focused, Alogba admonished lawyers to work towards salvaging the image of the profession.

He noted that since misunderstanding is inevitable in every organisation, NBA inclusive, it is honourable for the association to be professional and mature in handling any internal misunderstanding whenever such occurs in order to save the profession.

Speaking on the enormous amount of records lost at the Igbosere High Court during the ENDSARS crisis, the Chief Judge informed members of the Bar of the several efforts by the Judiciary in securing temporary court premises.

He appealed to lawyers to plead with their clients with pending cases to exercise patience until the commencement or the completion of the temporary sites, adding that criminal cases are given priority due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the chief judge may soon meet with the leadership of the Lagos Branch. A source who is familiar with the impending meeting told CITY LAWYER that plans are at an advanced stage for a courtesy visit by the Lagos Bar.

It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had in a report stated that there were anxieties within legal circles on the alleged frosty relations between the chief judge and NBA Lagos Branch. This was a major issue on the agenda during the last monthly meeting of the branch. The current leadership of the branch will bow out on June 30, 2021.

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