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Lawyers are not Above the Law; They should not be Placed Below It – Mazi Afam Osigwe


There have been disturbing reports about the activities of Mrs. Jane Mbanefo, the DPO of 33 Police Station of the Nigeria Police, Onitsha Anambra State.

Stories of her brazen acts of intimidation, assault, uncivilized approach, verbal abuse and high-handedness as revealed by two Onitsha based lawyers, CHIAMAKA NDULUE NWANGWU and COSMAS ANYABOLU, whom she assaulted at the station in the course of discharging their duties as lawyers. Her brazen assault in lawyers is a slap on our collective face as legal practitioners.

Her attitude towards legal practitioners is outlandish, excessive and unfortunate. It has rendered her unfit and improper to be the DPO of a Police Station or to remain in the service of the Nigeria Police Force.

Mrs Jane Mbanefo’s abuse of her powers of arrest and detention of legal practitioners as well as her constant use of coercion to obtain a written apology from her victims before they can be released from unlawful custody, must be deprecated. Legal practitioners are not above the law; they must not be placed below the law either. They should not be intimidated, assaulted and detained for doing their lawful duties.

Her acts of impunity must stop.How can any sane society have as DPO, a police officer who thrives on brazen show of force and recklessness? How can such a person be entrusted with the responsibility of protecting lives and property much less fighting crimes ? .

The actions of the DPO of 33 Police Station. Mrs JANE MBANEFO is a gross display of executive lawlessness, which must not be encouraged in any decent society . The actions are unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful infringement on the rights of the lawyers.

No decent society can tolerate her penchant for violence and intimidation. She cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of protecting lives and property talk less of fighting crime. Her activities as the DPO of the station typify impunity. She must therefore be protected from herself so as to save persons who have reasons to be at the police station from her reported recklessness.

Stories of this nature underscore the urgent need for NBA to boldly stand up to defend the rights of its members whose lives are endangered for doing their duties as lawyers.

The NBA especially its branches need to take urgent steps to protect lawyers from assault and intimidation by law enforcement agents.

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