By Murtala Muhammad The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)Abuja Branch, has in strong terms condemned the act of brutality meted against the Chairman of NBA Makurdi Branch, Mr. Justin Gbagir by the EFCC operatives.
A statement by the Secretary of the Association Prince Adebiyi Adetosoye which was made available to newsmen in Abuja also condemns what it called “Breach of Treasurer’s fundamental rights.”
The statement says this act of brutality by law enforcement agents against lawyers is “one brutality too many.”
It expresses regret over the use of unestimated power by the country’s law enforcement agents, noting that their duty was solely to enforce the law, without which no organisation would exist.
“While expressing our regret for the present situation in our Country, particularly the imperious and overbearing powers habitually exhibited by the law enforcement agents, it is equally expedient to remind all law enforcement agencies, particularly the EFCC,that their duty is solely hinged on the enforcement of the law; without which any organization, however small in number, would crumble” – the statement says.
It says the canker worm that steadily eats deep into the fabric of the nation has constantly been that of Police brutality, however says presently, the EFCC brutality is gradually becoming a thing of “grave” concern.
The Abuja branch of the NBA said it has carefully read through the entire Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, making particularly Sections 6 and 7 of the Act which plainly dictates the functions of the Commission; it was unable to locate the paragraph under which the Commission was empowered to maltreat the citizens of the Country.
The statement demands that the officers responsible for this brutality be brought to book, and calls for the reorientation of all law enforcement agencies in Nigeria on rules of engagement with citizens.
It also calls for a change of the minds, focus and direction of these agencies to one that would improve and enhance public cordial relations for efficiency, effectiveness and attitudinal change.
The Abuja Branch of the Association assures all member and Executives of the NBA Makurdi Branch of its unconditional support at times.
According to the statement, until normalcy is restored in the Country and Nigerian Lawyers and indeed citizens are treated with utmost respect, the association will continue to stand in unity against brutality and lawlessness of any kind.