Alex Enumah in Abuja
As the country on Monday commemorated this yearâ€™s Democracy Day, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has voiced its displeasure over the continued detention of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as the Shiâ€™ite group, Ibramim El-Zakyzaky, and his wife, by the federal government despite court orders which granted them bail.
Â The National President of the NBA, A.B Mahmoud (SAN), who disclosed the position of the association during a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, remarked that such disobedience to court orders is uncalled for and does not show compliance to rule of law.
â€œThe NBA is appalled at the continued detention of certain individuals in blatant disobedient to court orders. Among these individuals are El-Zakyzaky his wife and Dasuki. While we recognise the seriousness of the charges in which individuals were held, we nevertheless viewed their continued detention as unjustified and contrary to the express court orders. We call on the government to without further delay, respect theses orders,â€ Mahmoud stated.
Similarly, the NBA further called for the termination of investigations against judges who were accused of corruption but have not been charged before the court since the past eight months.
Mahmoud said: â€œIn the wake of the arrest and detention of certain judicial officers by the Department of State Services (DSS), the NBA had taken the view that the judges affected should recluse themselves from judicial functions until the investigation and outcomes of those investigations are determined, we note that nearly eight months after those investigations were launched, some of the judges have not been prosecuted or charged before any court of law.
â€œThis situation is completely unsatisfactory and unacceptable. The NBA calls on the government to terminate the investigation against those judges to enable them resume their work as judicial officers.â€
On the alleged plans to overthrow the current administration by the military, while the NBA condemned the move in strong terms, it, however, commended the military for its timely intervention.
â€œIn recent days there have been suggestion in the media of possible instigation from segment of political class for military intervention in the governance of the country, this follows statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff of unorthodox approaches by politicians to the Nigerian military. The NBA wishes to express its concerns and condemned in very strong terms any such move from whatever quarters. Nigeria democracy and democratic institutions must be imperiled by any undemocratic change of government.â€
The association further condemned the agitation for secession Â by some groups in the country, and called for a better way of showing grievances aside the threat to break up.
â€œNBA affirms commitment to unity and building a strong federal system. We urged all groups to continue to agitate peaceful existence among citizens of the country.â€
On the issue of security, the NBA commended the federal government especially in the fight against Boko Haram in the North-east and the recent Â release of 82 Chibok girls.
The Bar however called on the federal government to do more so as to secure the release of others, adding that the security agencies should be strengthen the more.
In addition, the NBA called for an overhauling of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
â€œThe government will need to look at the scheme again and how best it can be improved.â€
Speaking on the anti-corruption crusadeof the government, the NBA noted: â€œEfforts of anti corruption agency is commendable. New anti-corruption strategy has been developed. Stakeholders should help the federal governmentÂ towards the success of the policy. We commend whistle blower policy. The government should fund the anti-corruption agencies.
â€œThe lingering issue of EFCC leadership should be tackled once and for all. The investigative agency should be more careful and thorough in carrying out its investigation. Media investigation should not be encouraged.â€
It, however, congratulated the Chief Justice Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen on his confirmation as the substantive CJN and further pledged its support towards the policies of the NJC.
He noted that the NBA and Body of Benchers are harmonising reports on the development of the judiciary.