By Innocent Anaba
THE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), weekend, condemned the refusal of an Abuja Chief Magistrate to grant bail to a lawyer, Yinka Okedara, counsel to Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, Action Congress (AC) Osun State governorship candidate in the 2007 general elections, for allegedly forging a document.
NBA National Publicity Secretary, Mr Muritala Rasheed, in a statement yesterday said: â€œThe attention of the NBA has been drawn newspaper publications, that Lamido Mohammed, the Chief Magistrate at the Life Camp District, Abuja, refused to grant bail to Yinka Okedara, one of the counsel to Aregbesola at the Osun State Government Election Tribunal for allegedly forging a document.
â€œWhile it is not in the character of the NBA to attack judicial indiscretion on the pages of newspaper, we find the latest rape on the fundamental right of Mr. Okedara tainted with politics. It is elementary that bail is a right under the Nigerian law.
The incessant refusal of bail by our courts has shown embarrassing lack of understanding of basic principle of law as it relates to bail, a right and not a privilege. This affront to the rule of law is becoming a recurrent decimal on due administration of criminal justice.
The Court of Appeal in the case of Chief M.K.O Abiola Vs Federal Republic of Nigeria reiterated for the umpteenth time that bail application can be made orally even at High Court.
â€œWe consider the refusal of bail to Mr. Okedara by Lamido MohammedÂ as an act of deliberate judicial impertinence aimed at pleasing the complainants.
The Bar, irrespective of the shenanigans of the anti-democratic mafia, will not shy away from condemning aberration to the rule of law. We note that the document said to be forged is already adjudged admissible by the Court of Appeal.
We bemoan this brazen act aimed at frightening lawyers from performing their lawful duties to their client. We view the development in this matter with grave concern and would advise the police to desist henceforth from harassing counsel for action carried out in the lawful performance of their duties.”
“â€œWe also condemns unequivocally the statement credited to Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, the PDP National Vice Chairman (South-West) applauding the Inspector-General of Police on the tragic comedy that has bedeviled the forgery incidence as a biased concoction of a lurid mind bedeviled with penchant for mischief.
While the nexus between the purported dexterity with which the police, which has failed to unravel high calibre murder cases, is pursuing this purported forgery and the mischief of the PDP is not lost to every discerning mind, we advise that the police should have its loyalty to the Nigerian Nation and not to the party in power,â€ he added.