The Utter Bar Condemns DSS Invasion of Ogun State High Court Premises, Ilaro for Arrest of Suspects

The Ota Branch ‘’Utter Bar’’ of the Nigerian Bar Association deprecates the ‘’commando’’ style operations of the Directorate of State Security [DSS] in effecting the arrest of suspects on Monday, the 13th of May, 2024. It represents unholy invasion of the sacred temple of justice and a show of force in contrast to compliance with the Rule of Law.

It is more despicable to observe that the security personnel conducted their operation within the Court premises in flagrant disregard of the caution of a serving judge of the State High Court with brazen dexterity judging by the viral video in circulation. It must be noted however that the official denial by the Agency does not represent the true state of affairs.

It must be clearly pointed out that the rampart resort to brute force by our security agencies is not only antithetical to the Rule of law but a gross violation of the standard rule of engagement as clearly enunciated by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of MILITARY GOVERNOR, LAGOS STATE V. EMEKA OJUKWU [2001] FWLR, PT.50, 1779, 1801

We quickly draw the attention of the Agency to the decision of HONOURABLE JUSTICE INYANG EKWO in SUIT FHC/ABJ/CS/437/2020:BABATUNDE MORAKINYO V. EFCC sometimes in February, 2021, wherein the Honourable Court declared as unlawful and a breach of the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity by his arrest on March 19, 2020 within the premises of the Federal High Court by officials of the anti-graft agency.

Consequently, the sum of N50m was awarded as exemplary damages against EFCC with a public apology in two national newspapers. The Honourable Court frowned at the decision of EFCC personnel to arrest the Applicant within the court premises and noted that such act was not only disrespectful to the court but also unlawful because no law allows such practice.

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The Honourable Court further stated that the arrest of the Applicant in Court by officials of EFCC ‘’demonstrates apparent disregard for the judiciary as an arm of government and ruptured its integrity’’.

In addition, the Honourable Court stated that ‘’ the act is an abberation of the tenets of democracy we profess to practice. In a democracy, no arm of government is to be made to appear as subjugated to the other. Unconstitutional and illegal court house arrest is condemnable and punishable and the court house arrest of the applicant by the respondent is no less so’’

Hence, it apparent that DSS personnel action of arresting suspect within the Court premises at Ilaro is a brazen assault on the independence of the judiciary and shows an institutional knowledge gap of engagement that requires urgent remedial action steps by the leadership of the Agency towards preventing cataclysmic erosion of our fledgling democracy

We therefore call on our President, the National Assembly President/Speaker and the Director General of DSS to take up this challenge to reposition the Agency for effective and efficient service delivery in a democracy where the Law trumps the rule of force.

We also call on Civil Society organizations [CSOs] to partner with all security agencies in bridging the obvious institutional knowledge gap in the system.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless Nigeria Bar Association
God bless the Utter Bar


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