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Ubani submits investigation report on Odili’s home invasion

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
22 March 2022   |   2:57 am
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) special investigator on the invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Odili and chairman of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law

Ubani

Urges NBA to press for obedience to court orders

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) special investigator on the invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Odili and chairman of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law, (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Ubani has submitted his report to the NBA.

Ubani, in his recommendations, urged the NBA to press for obedience to court orders and respect for the rule of law until all arms of government adopt such core values.

Suspected security operatives on October 29, 2021 invaded the home of the senior judicial officer, eliciting widespread condemnation and the subsequent appointment of Ubani by the Olumide Akpata-led leadership of the NBA.

According to the SPIDEL chairman, he conducted a vivid investigation on the invasion as instructed by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata and the National Executive Council to unravel the culprits and the reason behind the embarrassing invasion.

While submitting his report, he gave details of how he carried out the investigation and made some recommendations on the outcome.

He stated that government entities that harbour criminal gangs must be brought to justice. He said that substantive and procedural laws with elaborate processes and procedures for the issuance of search warrants, arrest warrants, detention orders, extension of detention orders among others should be enacted for the States and the Federal Government to obviate a repeat of the worrisome incident. 

According to him, the independence of the Judiciary must be sustained through administrative, operational and financial autonomy. 

“On its part, the NBA must continue to press for obedience to court orders and respect for the rule of law until all arms of government adopt these as core values.
 
“The independence of the judiciary should not be a matter for negotiation. It is either we have independent judiciary or we choose not to have it. The advantages of an independent judiciary cannot be over-emphasised.

“The independence of the Judiciary should not only be on paper but should be practicalised. The administrative, operational and financial autonomy of the judiciary should be total and exhaustive.

“The Federal and state governments should not be allowed to pay lip service to the independence of the judiciary.
“Government agencies or security agencies that tolerate or harbour criminal gangs, touts or law breakers, in and around their offices, should be made to answer to their illegal activities by being summoned by the various committees that superintend over them in the legislature,” he suggested.

Ubani emphasised that ensuring obedience to Court Orders and respect for the rule of law should remain the eternal pursuit of NBA and other professional bodies until these become abiding principles by every government in Nigeria.

He also suggested that the special investigator will hold watching brief on behalf of NBA over the invasion matter, which has commenced at the Federal High Court, Abuja and would come up April 8, 2022.

He, therefore, thanked the NBA president and the NEC for the privilege of serving the Bar as a Special Investigator.
The Nigerian Police have arrested several persons including lawyers, security agents, a journalist and other professionals that allegedly carried out the invasion. 

They were arraigned on December 15, 2021. They all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them. The first hearing on the case was held on January 17, 2022 when the first prosecution witness gave evidence and was cross-examined.

The matter was adjourned to March 1, 2022 and further adjourned to April 8, 2022, as the court did not sit on March 1, 2022. 

The NBA will be holding a watching brief on the matter at the next adjourned date. Bar Maxwell Okpara of NBA Bwari Branch has been engaged to work with the Special Investigator/NBA SPIDEL chairman on the case by holding a watching brief on behalf of the NBA.

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