11th March, 2019
WITHDRAW YOUR QUERY: MURIC TELLS NBA
The prosecution counsel of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen, has been given a query by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for taking the brief. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar, has told NBA that he would not respond to the query until Onnoghen’s case has been determined by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Meanwhile an Islamic human rights organization has described NBA’s action as reactionary, repugnant and condescending. MURIC expatiated further in a press statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 11th March, 2019, that NBA’s action was anti-people and unpatriotic.
“We are bewildered by NBA’s latest action. They are determined to make it impossible for the suspended CJN to be prosecuted. In other words, NBA is telling Nigerians that the man is above the law. This is contrary to the principles of justice, fairness and equality before the law which lawyers have been pushing down our throats for ages.
“Are we no longer equal before the law? Has the temple of justice become George Orwell’s Animal Farm where ‘four legs are good but two legs better?’ Nigerians are waiting for an answer. Nay, the world too is watching. The world is waiting to see how much cover Nigeria’s body of lawyers will give to one of them who is accused of corruption.
“How has accepting a brief become crime? NBA’s action is an indisputable disservice to the rule of law. It is repulsive to the law of natural justice. This action has a very strong potential of breaking NBA along the North-South dichotomy.
“Pray, what does NBA want? What is NBA afraid of? NBA took on the man who accepted appointment as Acting CJN. Now it has queried the SAN who took the brief. It also allegedly demanded his call to bar certificate. Clandestine moves are being made to delist him as a lawyer. This is the height of intimidation.
“We demand that NBA withdraws its query from the prosecution counsel in order to save its good name. That query is unacceptable. It contravenes the principle of natural justice. It translates to an attempt to coerce the prosecution and interrupt the cause of justice. NBA is simply obstructing justice, exerting undue influence on the prosecution and retarding the rule of law. These are grave allegations in any sane society.
“By issuing a query to the prosecuting counsel, NBA is also promoting impunity, encouraging corruption and jettisoning the moral angle which is more important to Nigerians. NBA should remember that the law is made for human beings and not vice versa.
“We call on senior members of the profession to call NBA to order. Conscienceless power should not be allowed to persecute powerless conscience in the circle of learned men. It is the path to the destruction of all modicum of integrity left in any society.
“MURIC commends the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar SAN, for exhibiting uncommon courage. We charge him to remain undaunted. Nigerians are not the fools some people take them for. They are watching proceedings in the court of public opinion. They are the ones who will decide whose names go to the hall of fame and whose names are dropped in the dustbin of history.
“In our concluding remarks, we affirm clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Nigerians reject NBA’s query to the prosecution counsel. We therefore demand the its unconditional withdrawal. We charge NBA to desist from attempts to provide illegal cover for corrupt colleagues, whether they are senior or junior”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)