Senior lawyers on Saturday suggested a course of action for the judiciary following the alleged invasion of a courtroom in Abuja on Friday by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The DSS officials were attempting to rearrest Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, who was released less than 12 hours before.
Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Ade Adedeji and Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa advised the Attorney-General of the Federation to meet with the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and jointly condemn the invasion among other steps.
Adedeji said: “There’s urgent need for the Attorney-General of the Federation and the President of NBA to have a joint press conference and condemn in unequivocal terms the trend of undermining the integrity of court by invading court rooms with arms , forcibly arresting, intimidating and harassing citizens and generally abusing the rule of law through disobedience of order of court.
“It is equally imperative that all heads of the arms of government the President, the CJN and the Senate President should immediately come together to sincerely work out modalities to stem the tide. We are living in a perilous times but must be encouraged to have the audacity of hope that things will change.”
For Olu-Adegboruwa, the NBA did well by promptly responding to the invasion through a press release, but more needed to be done.
Like Adedeji, he suggested a meeting with the CJN and AGF to consult on possible steps to be taken to protect judges and the courts from further invasion.
Olu-Adegboruwa said: “The purpose of this meeting is: to secure the courts with a functional police post as is done in the National Assembly and even houses of assembly of the states.
“To also meet with the leadership of the National Assembly, the Committees on Judiciary and Human Rights and Law Enforcement with a view to getting the DSS to be brought to book.
“To demand the immediate disengagement of the present leadership of the DSS and all its officers involved in the invasion.
“To meet with the AG of Lagos State to unravel the invasion of Lagos court and bring those involved to book.
“To visit Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and Hon Justice Ojukwu for solidarity and consultations.”
The Silk also suggested that henceforth, the Bar should get its members who are involved in any government to be held accountable for any breach of the rule of law by the government and its officers and agencies.
He added: “In any State where there is glaring disobedience of the order of court or brazen infraction of the Constitution, the AG of that State should be referred to the LPDC (Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee) and if he’s an SAN, also to the LPPC (Legal Practioners’ Privileges Committee).
“The same should happen to the AGF when it involves the federal government and its agencies.
“Then the counsel involved in such cases for the government should be held accountable by the NBA and the Bar generally and be suspended forthwith.
Unless we act swiftly and urgently now, there seems to be more ahead, in the coming days.”