Siege On Odili’s Home: NBA Dissociates Self From Disparaging Remarks Against Malami

The Nigerian Bar Association is the umbrella body of all lawyers admitted to the Bar in the country and a member of all statutory bodies that regulate the Nigerian Bar and Bench.

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has dissociated itself from some comments on social media credited to the President of the NBA regarding the investigations into the raid of Hon. Justice Mary Odili’s house.

According to a statement on Wednesday, the NBA noted that “in the highly mischievous statement”, the President of the NBA was credited disparaging remarks against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

READ ALSO: Lagos EndSARS Panel Submits Report One Year After Inauguration

Some of the remarks ascribed to the NBA president include:
“Abubakar Malami is the most incompetent Attorney General of the Federation Nigeria ever had. A Lawyer with no respect nor regard for rule of law. Malami cannot deny being involved in the raid of the house of Hon. Justice Mary Odili. He’s the principal suspect here and the earlier he admits the fact, the better for him.

“No Attorney General of the Federation has divided this country like the way Malami did. Malami is not only tribalistic in nature but equally lacks moral principles and character.

“We urge him to eschew pride and respect the office he’s occupying presently by bringing out those involved in such criminal act or be ready to lose his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) honour because, from all indications, he doesn’t deserve it. He has proven to be exceptionally incompetent, undeserving of such position, lack of character and integrity.”

The NBA through its spokesman, Dr. Rapulu Nduka, asserted that in setting the records straight, its leadership has since set up a machinery to investigate the invasion of Justice Odili’s home.

According to the NBA, the aim of the said investigation is to provide the legal body with credible information based on empirical data regarding the raid on the home and will not make comments that risk jeopardizing the process.

Furthermore, the NBA said it has its official and dedicated communication channels and does not make statements through proxies or fifth columnists.

The association noted that it sees this “fake and mischievously motivated circulation as the handiwork of mischief makers who clearly are not interested in good order or maintenance of peace in an already overheated polity”.

The NBA stressed that it remains resolute in its determination to fish out and bring to book those who raided and/or authorised the raid on Hon. Justice Mary Odili’s house, in line with its mandate of promoting the rule of law and defending the independence of the judiciary

House Of Reps Warn Against Repeat Of Siege On Justice Odili’s Home

A file photo of members of the House of Representatives attending a plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 24, 2020.

 

The House of Representatives has cautioned against unwarranted assaults of judicial officers following the siege on the residence of a Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili. 

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke, issued the warning during the 2022 budget defence of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

“Of great importance to this committee is the security of judicial officers. We have stated as a committee that we should create an enabling environment, not only a working environment, not just good living conditions, but a secured environment for our judicial officials to operate without hindrance, without any fear of intimidation or harassment,” the lawmaker added.

“We want to condemn the attack on Justice Odili’s residence, a justice of the Supreme Court and we ask that this should not repeat itself. It happened in 2017, this should not be allowed to repeat itself because we are weakening the morale and strength of our judicial officers.”

The committee called for more protection for judicial officers.

Meanwhile, the committee also wants an intervention fund created for the judiciary to upgrade in line with international standards.

“We have intervention fund for sports, we have intervention funds for youths, we have had intervention funds for entertainment, I do not think it will be out of place for the Federal government to have intervention fund for the Judiciary,” he stated, adding that “this is the only way the judiciary can meet up with its competing demands facing the judiciary as we go on.’’

Odili Siege: Wike Accuses FG Of Intimidating Judiciary Ahead Of 2023 Elections

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has accused the Federal Government of intimidating the judiciary ahead of the 2023 general elections in the country.

Wike’s criticism followed a recent invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court in her Abuja residence by men believed to be security operatives.

Speaking on Thursday during a special court session to mark the opening of the 2021/2022 Legal Year of the Rivers State Judiciary in Port Harcourt, the governor said the Federal Government wants to continue to ride roughshod unchecked over the rule of law and the sanctity of the country’s electoral system, hence, the renewed attack on judicial officers.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest 14 Linked With Siege On Justice Odili’s House

“Although it is still early morning in our democratic match towards 2023, the attack on Justice Mary Odili is a prelude to many more and even worse political maneuverings we should be prepared to experience from the APC-led Federal Government, which having lost relevance and popular support is becoming more and more desperate over its dwindling political fortunes by the day,” Wike said.

“While cases with political undertones, including the constitutional validity of certain sections of the recent amendments to the 2010 Electoral Act, if assented to by Mr President, would necessarily come before our courts; what is important is the duty and capacity of our judiciary to save our democracy and the country.”

According to him, it is the responsibility of the government at all levels to protect the judiciary and accord the courts such assistance as they may require enabling them to safeguard their independence, advance the rule of law, and dispense justice equally and fairly to all citizens.

While the present Federal Government has been very weak in resourcing and strengthening the judiciary, Wike said it has been very strong and readily predisposed to ridiculing the entire institution and subjecting individual judges to both physical and psychological trauma for its own self-interest.

“We all witnessed the infamous midnight raids on judicial residences and the subjection of some judges, to illegal raids, arrests and detentions by agents of the Federal Government purportedly carrying out a baseless sting operation back in 2016

“Since then the intimidation of judges whose judgments, intellectual or moral disposition they are not comfortable with has continued unrelenting with the latest attack on a peaceful mother, wife of a former Governor and Justice of the Supreme Court, our own highly revered Hon. Justice Mary Odili

“It is important to emphasize that we allow these intimidations to become acceptable standards of behaviour and even become complicit in their unholy design to undermine the administration of justice when we all opt to keep quite in the face of these assaults,” Governor Wike added.

Governor Wike, who commended the leaders of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and members of the public for promptly condemning the idiotic siege on judiciary, said they  must quickly move beyond the verbal protestations to unveil those behind the raid on Justice Odili’s residence and ensure that they all are held to account for their actions, otherwise this impunity would never cease to rear its ugly head in the country.

He challenged the Federal Government to come clean on this infamy with the names, identities and affiliations of those allegedly arrested for their roles or found to have been involved in the attack on the residence of Justice Odili, if it is not to be perceived as the primary mastermind.

Speaking on the proposed setting up of law school campuses, the governor urged the management of the Nigerian Law School, the Council of Legal Education and the Federal Government to see the folly in the plan, and nib the idea from the bud before it causes more damage to a foremost institution that is already severely challenged for lack of adequate funding.

He explained that the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School being built by the Rivers State Government was consciously demanded for and approval secured from the Council of Legal Education and ultimately from President  Muhammadu Buhari, through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and named after late Nabo Graham-Douglas, SAN.

Wike added, “Here again, some lazy and uninformed characters have criticised our Law School development project with the unfounded and lousy allegation that it lacks budgetary provisions in our 2021 budget, even when they conceded to the propriety of the project and the optimal benefits it would attract to the State and the business community.”

Police Arrest 14 Linked With Siege On Justice Odili’s House

 

Fourteen persons have been arrested in connection with the siege on Justice Mary Odili’s apartment in Abuja, the police said on Thursday. 

Some of the suspects include a fake Chief Superintendent of Police, Lawrence Ajodo; a contributing editor with one of the national dailies, Stanley Nkwazema, and an Islamic scholar.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, paraded the suspects in Abuja and explained that their arrest followed a swift investigation by the police.

Police say some of the suspects who laid siege on Justice Odili’s house are still at large. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

At least ten more persons linked with the incident including two military personnel are at large, the police spokesman added.

READ ALSO: Wike Gives FG 48-Hour Ultimatum To Probe Raid On Justice Odili’s Residence

The arrest is the latest in a series of events since some armed men laid siege on Justice Odili’s apartment in Maitama.

The arrest of the suspects, the police said, followed a thorough investigation. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The incident drew criticisms from many quarters including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, among others.

Wike had given the Federal Government a 48-hour ultimatum to get the perpetrators and claimed that the incident was an assassination attempt.

Cars were also recovered from the suspects. Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

“We think that there is an attempt to assassinate Justice Mary Odili, the husband and members of the family, there are no two ways about it. If they had succeeded, all the Federal Government would have told us (is that) we will get to the bottom of the matter because that has always been the normal language,” Wike said during a press conference in Abuja on October 31.

“The issue here has nothing to do with the Attorney General, we are happy he said he is not aware. We said, okay since you are not aware, we are giving you 48 hours to tell us who is responsible.”

The NBA had also called on the Federal Government to set up a panel to probe the siege, describing it as an assault on the judiciary.

“The grave implications of this possibility leave a lot to be desired,” the president of the NBA, Olumide Akpata, said in a statement.

“When viewed in the context of a similar raid on the premises of Supreme Court Justices in 2016, the rationale of which was never fully explained or indeed justified, the NBA interprets last night’s incident as a part of an orchestrated affront on the judiciary, designed to intimidate and ridicule the judiciary,” the NBA boss added.

‘An impostor’

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, has vowed to diligently prosecute the paraded suspects.

In a statement signed by spokesperson Mba, the police said it had recovered three vehicles and a laptop computer, printer and flash drive used for the production of fake identity cards from the suspects.

“The Nigeria Police Force has arrested a total of fourteen (14) suspects including the principal suspect – a fake Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) – for complicity in the failed criminal trespass on the Abuja residence of Justice Mary Odili on Friday, 29th October, 2021,” the statement said.

“The suspects were arrested following investigations conducted by detectives from the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) which clearly revealed the criminal involvement and individual roles the suspects played in the invasion of the residence of the revered Supreme Court Judge. Recall that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc (+), NPM, fdc, on 1st November, 2021, affirmed that the Force did not authorize security operatives to carry out any assignment in or around the residence of Justice Mary Odili and directed the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to carry out a discrete investigation with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to book.

“The suspects; Ajodo Lawrence ‘m’ (principal suspect), Michael Diete-Spiff ‘m’, Bar. Alex Onyekuru ‘m’, Bayero Lawal ‘m’, Bar. Igwe Ernest ‘m’, Aliyu Umar Ibrahim ‘m’, Maimuna Maishanu ‘f’, Ayodele Akindipe ‘m’, Yusuf Adamu ‘m’, Bashir Musa ‘m’, ASP Mohammed Yahaya ‘m’, Stanley Nkwazema ‘m’, Shehu Jibo ‘m’ and Abdullahi Adamu ‘m’, L/CPL Mike (other name unknown) ‘m’, are members of a well-organized criminal gang with a web-like involvement of individuals drawing from their different competences, professional background and social contacts in perfecting the criminal plot. Membership of the syndicate include suspects with background in public service, business, law, journalism, banking, amongst others.

“The facts of the case from Police Investigations have it that one Aliyu Umar Ibrahim, an acclaimed whistleblower, following a baseless and unverified information he got from one Yusuf Adamu – parading himself as the godson of Chief Peter Odili – that there is a huge sum of money in foreign currencies starched in the residence of Her Lordship, Justice Mary Odili located at No. 7, Imo River Street, Maitama, initiated processes aimed at illegally recovering the said money. Consequently, the syndicate contacted one Bashir Musa, a clerical staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who in turn sought the assistance of two (2) others – Shehu Jibo and Abdullahi Adamu.

One of those linked with the siege on Justice Odili’s home in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

“The whistleblower was later introduced to one Bayero Lawal who falsely presented himself as a Director in EFCC. He took the whistleblower to one Hajiya Maimuna Maishanu who in turn took them to her cousin, Michael Diete-Spiff, who claimed to be the Director of Foreign Currency Operation of Ghost’s Account for Local Whistle Blowers & Assets Recovery Panel, purportedly operating under the Federal Ministry of Justice – an agency that in fact does not exist. Diete-Spiff later introduced the whistleblower to one Lawrence Ajodo with the aid of one Godwin (currently at large). From this moment, Lawrence Ajodo – who falsely claimed to be a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and also the officer-in-charge of a non-existing Asset Recovery Panel at the Federal Ministry of Justice took over the planning and execution of the illicit operation. Through the assistance of one Ayodele Akindipe, an herbalist, the fake CSP procured the services of an Assistant Superintendent of Police and two (2) Soldiers for the failed operation. The fake CSP also elicited the services of a journalist, one Stanley Nkwazema and two (2) lawyers namely Bar. Alex Onyekuru and Bar. Igwe Ernest. While the journalist was expected to play the blackmail role, the lawyers were expected to help the syndicate in perfecting court documents and processes. The fake CSP later deposed to an affidavit and eventually obtained a search warrant meant for the execution of the raid.

“Investigations so far conducted by the Police show that the suspects criminally trespassed on the residence of Her Lordship but were not allowed to execute the search warrant due to the lawful resistance from Police officers on guard duty at her residence. Police findings also revealed that the principal suspect – Lawrence Ajodo – is an impostor and not a police officer as he falsely claimed. Similarly, the Ghost’s Account for Local Whistle Blowers & Assets Tax Recovery Panel purportedly operating under the Federal Ministry of Justice does not exist at the Federal Ministry of Justice neither is it registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Also, the signature of the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on the ID card presented by the fake CSP during the raid was forged. The Search Warrant which the suspects procured from a Magistrate Court for purposes of searching the premises of Justice Odili, was also obtained under false representation. The entire criminal operation has no authorization of any known Security Agency or Federal Government Ministry/Department.

Some of the suspects who laid siege on Justice Odili’s house. Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

“Three (3) vehicles used by the suspects for the illegal invasion and a laptop computer, printer and flash drive used for the production of the fake ID cards were recovered from the suspects by the Police investigators.

“Meanwhile, investigation is being intensified to arrest the other seven (7) suspects including two (2) persons believed to be personnel of the Nigeria Army who were physically present during the raid, and fully dressed in Army uniform.

“The IGP, while assuring diligent prosecution of the suspects, reiterated the commitment of the Force to continue to advance the rule of law and combatting all forms of crimes and criminality in the country.”

Soldiers Storm Daily Trust Offices In Abuja, Borno

Photo by Daily Trust showing men of the Nigerian Army invading the head office in Abuja on Sunday.

 

Some armed soldiers on Sunday invaded the office of Daily Trust in Abuja and Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The CEO and Editor in Chief of the medium, Mannir Dan-Ali, confirmed this in a phone interview with Channels Television.

According to him, the soldiers stormed the Maiduguri office around 4:00 pm and whisked away two members of staff.

About an hour later, some other soldiers also went ahead to shut down the Abuja office.

READ ALSO: SERAP To Fashola: Publish Names Of Contractors Who Disappeared With Project Money

“Around four o’clock, I got a call from our Maiduguri office where I was informed that soldiers and some plain-clothes security officials had surrounded our regional office and forced their way in and after spending about 20 minutes, they now went away with two of our reporters (the Bureau Chief Mr Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Mr Ibrahim Sawab.

“An hour or so, thereafter, I also got another call because I happened to be outside Abuja, driving back into Abuja. So, I got another call saying that soldiers had come to our head office and that they’ve forced themselves into the premises. And eventually they asked everyone to leave the premises and then they confiscated some computers from our editorial department where tomorrow’s paper is being prepared.

“Obviously, the aim is to prevent the Daily Trust from being on the street tomorrow.

“Now I’m actually close to the office. I’ve gone to the gate, I’ve seen the soldiers who are manning the gate and they have shut down our five floors and all the lights are off and that’s the situation as I speak to you now,” Dan-Ali said.

Police Brought Toolboxes Vandalise My House, Melaye Alleges

A team of policemen had stormed Senator Melaye’s Abuja residence on Friday to arrest him.

 

The Senator Representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, has alleged that the police on Wednesday brought tools to break into his Abuja residence.

The police had laid a siege on the residence since Friday, after its attempt to arrest the senator proved abortive.

Although Melaye had told Channels Television in a phone interview that he was out of town and would report to the police this week, the force claims it heard him shout at an officer from the top floor of the apartment.

Read Also: Police Deny Allegations Of Attempt To Break Into Melaye’s House

It, therefore, said it would not retreat until he (Melaye) surrenders.

With the siege entering its sixth day, the Senator tweeted that an EOD truck had brought some officers with the plan to vandalise his house.

The Police, on the other hand, denied the claims while also taking journalists around the premises.

Hours later, however, the senator took to the social media platform to share a photo of his car which he claimed the police had already vandalised.