Gentlemen of the Press, on 8th October, 2016 I addressed you at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos on the unprecedented events of the arrest of some Judicial Officers, including Justices of the Supreme Court by the Department of State Security. I also informed you of the establishment of Crisis Management Committee of the NBA which comprises all past presidents and past General Secretaries of NBA. The Crisis Management Committee had another meeting today with other Bar Leaders at the NBA house.
In attendance at the meeting were:
1.The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN
2.Mr Danladi Haliru, Executive Secretary of National Judicial Council (NJC)
Past Attorneys General:
1. Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN
2. ChiefAkinlolu Olujinmi, SAN
3. Mr. Adetokunbo Kayode, SAN
The Past Presidents:
1. Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN
2. Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
3. Mr. JB Daudu, SAN
4. Mr.Okey Wali,SAN
Past General Secretaries:
1. Mr. Obafemi Adewale, SAN
2. Mr. Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN
3. Mr. Mazi Afam Osigwe, Esq.
Members of NBA at the NJC:
1. Dr. Garba Tetengi, SAN, mni
2. Mallam TijaniInuwa-Dutse, mni
3. Lady Debby Obodoukwu
1. Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju, General Secretary of NBA
2. Prof. Awalu Yadudu, former Legal Adviser to the Head of State,
3. Dr. Balkisu Saidu, Senior Special Assistant, Legal and Compliance matters, Office of the Vice President; and
4. Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran, from the office of the Vice President.
3. At the end of the briefings the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and the Executive Secretary of NJC took their leave, and after exhaustive deliberations, the committee resolved as follows:
a. The NBA reiterates its position as expressed in the statement issued on the 8th day of October, 2016 and my address delivered at the valedictory sitting at the Supreme Court held in honour of Hon.
Justice Galadima on Monday 10th October, 2016.We condemn the manner of arrest of the judicial officers by the Department of State Security conducted in the middle of the night by masked and armed personnel. We view the action as illegal and unconstitutional. It is not in line with accepted norms in a democratic state. It is unacceptable to the NBA.
b. That the NBA reiterates in unmistakeable terms its commitment to the fight against corruption and commits itself to collaborate with the Federal Government in bringing culprits to justice whether Judges or ordinary people. However, we will only do this within the ambit of the law and in accordance with due process.
c. The NBA shall engage all stakeholders in order to build a consensus on how to win the war against corruption which has eaten deeply into the fabric of the Nigerian Nation and appears to have made inroad into the nation’s judiciary. Consequently, NBA shall in the next few weeks engage in high level consultation with the office of the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, National Assembly, the police, anti-corruption agencies and other law enforcement institutions of Government.
d. The NBA is not unmindful that there is divergence of views on this matter particularly having regard to the frustration of Nigerians with the failure of government to check corruption. However, we remind the general public and our members in particular, that NBA motto is “Promoting the rule of law” and we will not undermine this position on grounds of expediency.
e. The NBA hereby set-up a task force to be co-chaired by past presidents Wole Olanipekun, SAN and Olisa Agbakogba, SAN to come up with detailed proposals and strategy on how to strengthen the disciplinary process of the judiciary with a view to enhancing its effectiveness and rebuilding public confidence in the Justice Sector. We will make recommendations to the National Judicial Council and the Government through the office of Hon. Attorney General of the Federation. The committee is given three weeks to submit its report.
DATED AT ABUJA THIS 13th DAY OF OCTOBER, 2016
ABUBAKAR BALARABE MAHMOUD, OON, SAN.
PRESIDENT, NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION