BusinessDay

Invasion of Odili’s residence: NBA appoints special investigator

…tasks Buhari on independent panel of inquiry

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has appointed a special investigator to dig into the recent invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s residence in Abuja.

The appointment was announced Friday, November 5, 2021, in Lagos by Olumide Akpata, the NBA president, who also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up an independent panel on the matter.

Addressing newsmen, Akpata said the NBA chose the chairman of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Monday Ubani, to serve as the NBA’s special investigator to unmask those behind the attack on Odili’s home and to ensure that these individuals are made to face the law.

Akpata expressed surprise that every head of the relevant agency of government denied knowledge of the invasion. He said; “For us, the grave implications of this possibility leave a lot to be desired.”

He said the NBA was thoroughly dissatisfied with the denials by the relevant government agencies and departments and vowed to leave no stone unturned in their bid to unmask those behind the attack and bring them to justice if found culpable, no matter how highly placed.

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Akpata asked: “Then who authorised the operation? Who took the decision to approach the magistrate for the search warrant? What if the team had succeeded and any form of harm had befallen Her Lordship? Who would have taken responsibility?

“Today it is the residence of Odili, JSC, who will be the subject of such raid tomorrow? What of the potential impact of this raid on the morale and psyche of other judicial officers? Are they truly expected to dispense justice without fear or favour under this dark cloud? Can they go to bed in peace without the fear of being visited by rogue security operatives?”

The NBA boss frowned at what he called discordant voices from the NBA membership, saying once the highest decision-making body has taken a decision as in this matter, that all other groups within the body must rein themselves in line.

He noted the decision of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to order a detailed investigation into the invasion and his pledge that the perpetrators would be made to face the wrath of the law.

“We also understand that some of the officers involved have reportedly been arrested. For us, this is not enough. We, therefore, 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 also be brought to justice. There should be no sacred cows. The position of the NBA is that public officers must be made to account for whatever they do with their entrusted powers”.

Akpata thus called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately set up an independent panel of inquiry to fish out all those behind this dastardly act. “It is to be noted that the NBA will also call out and discipline any of our members who is found to have been part of this despicable attempt to ridicule the Judiciary.

“We note that the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami has reportedly agreed to make himself available for investigation. This is consistent with the position taken by the NBA national executive council that the attorney-general of the federation definitely has some questions to answer. However, in order not to breach the rule of natural justice, especially the rule against being a judge in one’s cause, we would be insisting that the attorney-general of the federation is investigated by the above-mentioned independent panel of inquiry,” Akpata submitted.

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