Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on Saturday asked the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to take disciplinary actions against lawyers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over Friday’s invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by the country’s secret police who stormed the court in a commando-style and re-arrested the convener of the #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
Falana, who is the defendants’ lead counsel, said his legal team would meet later on Saturday to determine the next line of action.
According to him, there are 10 lawyers in the Buhari’s administration, with four of them as Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who ought to live up to their oath to defend the Constitution and other laws of the country, by ensuring that the rule of law was observed by the government.
The quartet Falana was referring to are Vice President Yemi Osinbajon, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo.
He said: “Even though President Muhammadu Buhari has a duty to caution the Department of State Services, the blame of the desecration of the court on Friday rests squarely on lawyers in government, who are under a duty to ensure that the rule of law is observed.
“They have all taken the oath to respect the Constitution and other laws of the country. That Constitution guarantees the independence and impartiality of the courts.
“They, therefore, cannot sit in a cabinet under a regime that terrorises the courts and subverts the rule of law.
“It is a matter the Nigerian Bar Association should take up against the lawyers in the cabinet by instituting disciplinary proceedings against them.”
He also described the re-arrest of Sowore and Bakare in the court premises as contemptuous.
He insisted that the duo’s re-arrest by the DSS was not backed by any arrest warrant or detention order of the court.
Falana added: “There is no warrant of arrest, there is no detention order. What the DSS did today was the height of contempt of court.
“Nobody is above the law. You either abolish the courts or allow them to function effectively.
“This is a situation where the DSS operatives invaded the court and forced the judge to adjourn proceedings; they chased the judge out of her court, disrupted the proceedings and forced the judge to adjourn all cases.
“These are manifestations of fascism, which cannot be accepted in any civilised society. This has never happened in Nigeria where you take over a court forcefully in order to arrest an unarmed citizen.”