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LEDAP condemns alleged assault on NBA chairman by EFCC

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Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Photo: WHITENIGERIAN

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has condemned the inhumane and degrading act committed against the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Makurdi branch, Mr. Justin Gbagir, by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Benue State. 
 
According to the group, the action by those operatives violates the Fundamental Human Rights of the victim as entrenched in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

The group therefore demanded that the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami (SAN) charge and prosecute all perpetrators of the alleged offence.
 

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In a statement signed by LEDAP national coordinator, Chino Obiagwu (SAN), the group declared that from a series of events, which occurred on June 8, 2021, Mr. Gbagir went to the office of the EFCC Makurdi branch to facilitate the bail of one of his colleagues, who was remanded, namely Miss Aver Shima, a law officer working at the Benue Sate Ministry of Justice.
 
“From our understanding, Ms. Shima was remanded following an allegation of a legal advice she gave the Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Board and as such is currently undergoing investigation.
 
“Following this incident, Mr. Gbagir, in the company of other members of the Ministry of Justice visited the EFCC office in Makurdi, but was refused entry into the premises and subjected to humiliation and degrading treatment by the security operatives at the gate; on the allegation that they are “agitators” who have come to protest.

“It took the intervention of the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor, Attorney General of the state and Solicitor General of the state before the delegation was allowed entry into the building.
 
“Also, we understand that when Mr. Gbagir was introduced to the EFCC Chairman, as the Chairman of the NBA Makurdi branch, he was denied all courtesy. This infuriated Mr. Gbagir and as a result, sought to leave the premises. However, he was swarmed and assaulted by operatives of EFCC, the actions of which were approved by the silent conduct of the EFCC Chairman,” they alleged.
 
LEDAP stated that the action of the EFCC operatives not only undermined the position of the NBA chairman, but also all lawyers at large. 
 
According to them, the act is a mockery to their position as members of the third arm of government, which is the Judiciary, as provided in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
 
LEDAP pointed out that those EFCC security operatives are in breach of Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution, which states that every person is entitled to respect for his dignity and shall not be subject to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
 
They therefore urged the EFCC Makurdi branch to publish an apology letter to the victim and called on the Attorney General to penalise all those involved in the act.
 
“Henceforth, the EFCC is demanded to treat all lawyers with respect in all legal dealings with them,” they stressed.

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