NBA Vows Not to Relent Until Perpetrators of Siege on Justice Odili’s House are Punished
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has vowed not to relent until all those involved in last week’s raid on the Abuja home of Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the number two Justice of the Supreme Court.
The President of the NBA, Mr. Olumide Apkata, who stated this yesterday in Abuja, also noted that the denial of the federal government and its agencies was not enough and called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to unmask police officers who might have directed the operation.
He spoke at a valedictory court session held in honour of Late Justice Samuel Oseji, who died late September at the age of 67.
Akpata, who stated that although the event was meant to celebrate the lifetime of the late jurist whom he said was of impeccable character, he added: “My Lord Hon. Justice Oseji himself would not forgive us if all we do today is to celebrate his life whilst we turn a blind eye on the actions of these agents of government who are obviously intent on desecrating and denigrating this Honourable Court and indeed the entire Nigerian judiciary”.
According to him, the sting operation by faceless security personnel calls for grave concern, describing it as an undoubted attempt to intimidate the Judiciary and to dissuade Judges and Justices from dispensing justice without fear or favour.
“We are thoroughly dissatisfied with the denials emanating from the relevant agencies and departments of Government and we have vowed to leave no stone unturned in our bid to unmask all those behind this attack and to bring to justice anyone found culpable, no matter how highly placed,” he said.
“Whilst we note that the IGP has announced the arrest of all the officers who invaded the residence of Hon. Justice Mary Odili, we however demand that the veil of secrecy behind which those who directed the said officers are hiding must be torn to shreds for them all to be brought to justice.”
The NBA President further assured that the body would with equal determination call out and discipline any of their members who is found to have been part of this despicable attempt to ridicule the Judiciary.
He also advised members of the Bar against singing discordant tunes in condemnation of attempts to desecrate the sanctity of the Bench.
He said: “The cacophony of often discordant voices emanating from what ordinarily should be one Bar, on this same issue, has almost become comical and those to whom we purport to direct our umbrage may be forgiven for not taking us seriously.
“It serves no useful purpose, after the NBA has clearly articulated a position on such a serious matter, for other groups within the Association, whether they be a body of senior or junior advocates, to muddy the waters by embarking on needless road-shows and issuing statements that only serve to portray our Association, and indeed our approach to the issue at hand, as uncoordinated and ultimately ineffective.”
He emphasised that the NBA remains the only voice of the legal profession in Nigeria, saying it has spoken unequivocally on the issue and shall follow it up with unmistakable resolve.
While extolling the virtues of the late Justice, both the NBA and body of senior advocate (BOSAN) represented by Awa Kalu, hailed his dedication and commitment as judicial officer.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, on his part described Oseji’s thirty-five years in services to fatherland and the generality of mankind as meritorious.
According to Muhammad, his rise to the Supreme Court bench was a testimony of hard work and total submission to the dictates of his profession.
“His judicial pronouncements have occupied vital pages of law books across the continent of Africa and beyond,” he added.
Hon. Justice Samuel Oseji who hails from Idumuje-Uno in Aniocha North Local Government of Delta State was born in Jos Plateau State on the 2nd June 1954.
He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka ( UNN to study law in 1980 and after graduating with LL.B (Hons) Degree, he immediately proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos where he was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985.
He was sworn into the bench of the apex court in November 2020, but died late September after a protracted illness.