February 20, 2020

Falana asks police to probe attack on Justice Odili’s residence

Falana asks police to probe attack on Justice Odili’s residence



Olasunkanmi Akoni

Human rights activist, Femi Falana, on Thursday urged the Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to investigate the alleged unlawful invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Peter-Odili in Abuja, with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

Falana, in a statement, maintained that the report of the investigation should be forwarded to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in order to charge the demonstrators with criminal trespass contrary to section 349 of the Penal Code applicable in the Federal Capital Territory.

A group of demonstrators had during the week invaded the residence of Peter-Odili and “infringed on the Supreme Court’s justice fundamental rights to privacy guaranteed by section 37 of the Constitution of Nigeria.”

The demonstrators were reported to have protested the judgment delivered on the Bayelsa governorship election by the apex court’s panel led by Justice Peter-Odili.

Falana said: “Never in the history of this country has a Justice of the Supreme Court been subjected to such embarrassment over his or her decision.

“This unfortunate incident would not rear its ugly head if the full weight of the law had been allowed to descend on the gang of miscreants who invaded the Ekiti State High Court and beat up a judge on September 23, 2014, and the armed security operatives who invaded the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court on December 6 last year in a desperate bid to arrest Mr. Omoyele Sowore.”

“However, since All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have accused each other of sponsoring the protest, the Inspector General of Police should conduct an investigation into the incident.”

The lawyer contended that since the right of Nigerian judges to decide cases without fear or favour is an integral part of judicial independence guaranteed by section 36 (1) of the Constitution, “the National Judicial Council should take up the invasion of Justice Mary Peter-Odili’s official residence with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“On its part, the Nigerian Bar Association should follow up on the investigation and prosecution of the invaders.”