Former General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mazi Afam Osigwe has called on the Inspector General of Police to make a firm commitment to respect the constitutional provisions of separation of powers by ensuring that the new trend of reckless and incessant attack on courts across the country is stopped forthwith.
Mazi was speaking on the heels of the recent attack on a Court in Zaria by men of the Nigerian Police few days after the attack in Rivers State Court.
“The ability of the judiciary to discharge this duty is coming under attack. A few weeks ago, it was in Rivers State, where a mob that was reportedly sponsored by politicians invaded and barricaded the High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, ostensibly to prevent the Court from rendering a decision in a political matter.”
“On Tuesday it was at a Customary Court in Rumi, Kaduna State, when policemen from Ikara Police Station chose to be a part of law-breakers by storming the Court, shooting into the air to forcefully arrest and take away testifying witness from the court.”
“The action of the policemen led to the court officials, lawyers, litigants and other court users scampering for safety. The policemen had no care for the pandemonium triggered by their action. It was indeed another low.”
“The action by the police which violated the sanctity of the courtroom is highly reprehensible and is hereby condemned. I wholeheartedly endorse the action of the leadership of Zaria branch in not only condemning the action but in calling for a detailed investigation and disciplining of the policemen who played a role in the matter. Indeed their actions are not acceptable in any civilized society.”
“We demand a firm commitment from the Inspector General of Police to respect the constitutional provisions of separation of powers.”
“Nothing other than these can address this sordid development and ensure that the invasion of courts which unduly interfere with the independence of the judiciary ceases forthwith.”
Speaking further, Mazi noted that it is only when the judiciary is safeguarded that it would be able to discharge its duty without fear or favour.
“Of the three arms of government, the judiciary is the branch of government that directs the society to attainment of order and justice. It has the duty of upholding the rule of law and ensuring the supremacy of that law.”
“To be able to carry out its role, Government has the duty of ensuring the men and women who are saddled with this onerous task have adequate safeguards in place in order to discharge their duties to all men and women ‘without fear, favour or ill-will’.”
In the words of NBA Zaria: “We urge the Inspector General of Police to constitute a high powered panel to inquire into these treasonable violations.
NBA Zaria demands that the policemen involved be suspended to aid thorough investigation — and an unreserved apology tendered to the traumatized judge.