Riled by the abduction of federal judges by the Maman Daura-led Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Saturday called on President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately order the release of judges abducted across the nation by the DSS or face the consequences.
This coincided with a call by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Adegboruwa, on the NBA to boycott the courts until sanity is restored.
Addressing a news conference on the arrests, President of the NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), condemned the unconstitutional foray of the DSS into an area not assigned to it by the law.
Mahmoud addressed the press alongside four past presidents of the association notably Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Mr. J.B. Daudu (SAN) and Augustine Alegeh (SAN). Also in attendance at the declaration, were Prof. Kayinsola Ajayi (SAN), Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN), Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN) among others.
Mahmoud said two Supreme Court justices, Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta were “abducted”, with their families, adding that he had yet to have the full detail of other judges who could have been involved.
Mahmoud said the NBA condemned what it termed the Gestapo-style operation of the DSS.
The NBA, has, therefore declared a state of emergency in the judiciary.
“I want to emphasise again that we are not under military rule and we cannot accept this unholy event and Gestapo-style operation. We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately caution all the state security agencies and to respect the rule of law and to respect due process.
“Any issues affecting the judicial officers, there are established procedures for handling them and we demand that this constitutional process must be obeyed. Given the unfolding nature of the event and the seriousness of the situation, the NBA hereby declares a state of emergency as it affects the affairs of the judiciary and I hereby constitute a crisis management team, comprising all past presidents of the association.
“I want to, on behalf of the association, make the very following clear and unequivocal demands: we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the judges abducted from about 9pm yesterday (Friday).
“The release must be done immediately and without any conditions. Two, we demand that the Department of State Services should limit itself to its statutory and constitutional responsibilities.
“I’ll be meeting with the CJN later tonight or tomorrow. There will be consequences should these demands are not met,” he declared.