The Nigerian Bar Association has threatened to sue police officers who detained three lawyers who were preparing a petition challenging the outcome of the Rivers governorship election.
This was revealed in a statement signed by NBA president Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, and made available to The Press on Saturday.
“The Nigerian Bar Association strongly condemns such unwarranted harassment of lawyers in the lawful performance of their professional duties to their clients,” Maikyau stated.
He stated that, while the police have assured him of their release, the NBA will ensure that those involved in the lawyers’ arrest face the law.
Jerry Aondo, Dr Sobere Nelson, and Odum Eyiba, the lawyers representing Tonye Cole of the All Progressives Congress, were arrested while putting together their petition in a hotel in the state.
The statement reads in part,”It was reported that the trio, who all practice in Mr Tuduru Ede, SAN’s law firm in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, were working on a petition for the All Progressives Congress against the declaration by INEC in the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state and were arrested while preparing the petition in a Hotel where they secured rooms and lodged for the purpose of the assignment.
“I have spoken with Mr Tuduru Ede, SAN and he confirmed the incident.
“The Nigerian Bar Association strongly condemns such unwarranted harassment of lawyers in the lawful performance of their professional duties to their clients.
“Situations where the instrumentality of the police is apparently being used to harass and intimidate lawyers, is a direct affront to the rule of law and a threat to our democracy; it is an invitation to anarchy and chaos, as people would rather resort to self-help than approach the civil and constitutional means provided for the resolution of disputes.
“I reached out to the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police Rivers State, and I have been assured of the release of our colleagues.
“We shall also take up the matter to ensure that any person(s) including police officers, who may be found complicit in the events leading to the arrest of our colleagues, is sanctioned for any possible abuse of office.
“I will continue to talk with Mr Tuduru SAN and shall keep you posted on further developments in this matter.”