The attention of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, SAN has been drawn to an order of Honorable Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal High Court wherein His Lordship, on March 26, 2019 granted an ex-parte motion filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN directing the Economic and Financial Crimes uCommission, EFCC, to charge, Monday Ubani, a former 3rd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and his co-applicant to court on or before Friday, 28/3/2019.
The court in the alternative, ordered that
“If the Applicants are not charged to court on or before 28/3/2019, EFCC is directed to release them on bail”.
In the statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, NBA, Kunle Edun, which reads, “It has been 3 days after the order of the court was made and the EFCC, has characteristically shown daring disobedience to the orders of the court by refusing to release Monday Ubani on bail or charge him to court before the 28/3/2019.
By the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supreme and binding on all persons and institutions in Nigeria.
By the further provisions of Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution “Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time.”
Mr. Monday Ubani still remains in the unlawful custody of the EFCC for more than three weeks, which is a gross violation of his constitutional rights to personal liberty.
Democracy thrives only where there is a culture of respect for rule of law and due process by all persons. The EFCC, being a product of law, must also be subject to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and therefore, cannot be above the law. The agency’s penchant for disobedience to orders of court is an ominous threat to rule of law and impacts negatively on Nigeria’s investment environment.
The Nigerian Bar Association, therefore, demands that the EFCC immediately complies with the subsisting order of the Federal High Court by releasing Monday Ubani or charge him to court, if there is any reasonable cause to so do.
The Nigerian Bar Association also urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to closely monitor the activities of security agencies, like EFCC and DSS, and ensure that they obey the fundamental rights of Nigerians and respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the performance of their functions.
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