MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Nigerian lawyers under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have condemned in strong terms the ignoble battle of wits by officials of the Department of State Service (DSS) and Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) at the premises of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Tuesday in attempt to take custody of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
The former CBN boss was arraigned before the court on a charge of illegal possession of firearms by the DSS. The trial judge had granted him bail and the Correctional Service officers were about to take him back to prison for the perfection of his bail conditions when armed DSS operatives stormed the court to forcefully take Emefiele away.
This resulted in serious confrontation with the Correctional officers who initially resisted the DSS before Emefiele’s lawyers prevailed on the Correctional officers to allow DSS have their way to avoid blood bath.
The NBA in a statement signed by its President, Yakubu Chonoko Maiyuku; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on Wednesday said “while it is difficult not to hold the leadership of the two Federal agencies responsible for
the shameful and disgraceful conduct of their personnel, one cannot discount the possible overzealousness or excesses of the officers involved as being responsible for what we witnessed today (Tuesday). The incident, regrettably is further evidence of lack of discipline and absence of professionalism that continues to plague key security institutions in Nigeria, which without doubt, is largely responsible for the limited progress in achieving a coordinated response to security concerns across the country.
A situation where officers of the Federal agencies engage in fight as witnessed by the public for whatever reason, is antithechical to our security as a nation and creates a recipe for anarchy and chaos. Both the DSS and
NCoS are important institutions dealing with national security and administration of justice
respectively and the need for them to work in concert towards attaining justice in a secured Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.
The NBA further condemned the brazen display of disrespect for the judiciary as the fracas took place right in the court premises. The lawyers have therefore called on
authorities of DSS and the Correctional Service to take immediate disciplinary actions against their officers involved in the shameful incident adding that there is urgent need for
overhauling of the two agencies and reorientation of their personnel to achieve professionalism and ensure synergy in the discharge of their different constitutional responsibilities.