Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abuja condemns the reported maltreatment of the chairman of Benue State chapter, Barrister Justin Gbagir by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
Reports say that Gbagir was on Tuesday beaten at the premises of the EFCC where he had gone to intervene in the “unlawful” detention of the branch Treasurer, Mrs. Aver Shima, by the EFCC who reportedly is defending an accused.
Gbagir was subsequently taken to a hospital where he was admitted for treatment.
Abuja NBA in a statement signed by its Secretary, Prince Adebiyi Adetosoye, noted, “the act of brutality by law enforcement agents against lawyers is one brutality too many”.
According to the Unity Bar, “The canker worm that steadily eats deep into the fabric of our dear nation has constantly been that of Police brutality.
“However, presently, the EFCC brutality is gradually becoming a thing of grave concern” Adetosoye pointed out.
The men of the Bar thereafter demanded that the officers responsible for the reported brutality be brought to book.
“We also call for the reorientation of all law enforcement agencies in Nigeria on rules of engagement with citizens.
“We call for a change of the minds, focus and direction of these agencies to one that would improve and enhance public cordial relations.
“It is only then we can anticipate efficiency, effectiveness and an attitudinal change in cordial public relations.
The Abuja NBA added: “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 members of the Unity Bar assured the Makurdi Branch of “unwavering support” during the difficult time adding,”until normalcy is restored in the Country and Nigerian Lawyers and indeed citizens are treated with utmost respect, we will continue to stand in unity against brutality and lawlessness of any kind”.