The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Saturday described the security agents’ raid on the residence of Supreme Court judge, Justice Mary Odili, as an affront on the judiciary.
Some security agents had on Friday evening invaded the judge’s residence in the Maitama area of Abuja with a search warrant over alleged illegal activities in the building.
Reports had earlier said operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) searched Justice Odili’s house as part of an ongoing investigation of her husband, Peter, who is on the commission’s watchlist for alleged corruption.
The anti-graft agency had since dismissed the reports.
The NBA President, Olumide Akpata, who reacted to the development in a statement, said the association would hold a meeting with heads of relevant security agencies in the coming days to get more information on the matter.
The statement read: “The grave implications of this possibility leave a lot to be desired.
“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 (Friday) night’s incident as a part of an orchestrated affront on the Judiciary, designed to intimidate and ridicule the Judiciary. The NBA will no longer allow this to continue.
“In case the law enforcement agencies have not learnt their lessons, events like this do nothing but erode the independence of sacred democratic institutions like the Judiciary, undermine the rule of law in Nigeria, and set the country back in the quest to instill confidence in citizens of Nigeria, Nigerian businesses, and foreign investors that Nigeria operates a democracy with an independent judiciary.
“I have spoken with my lord, Peter-Odili JSC, and I am happy to report that she is alive and well. Beyond that, however, it is my pledge to Nigerians that the NBA will get to the root of this matter.
“In line with the aims and objectives of the NBA which include the protection and defence of the independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law in Nigeria, we will be convening an emergency meeting of the NBA National Executive Committee solely to discuss this issue and take a definitive stand on behalf of the NBA.
“I will also lead a delegation to the honourable attorney-general of the federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN), and the relevant heads of security agencies to seek further clarification on the circumstances of this incident.
“Thereafter, the NBA will ensure that all those responsible for this unfortunate incident are brought to book. We must do all that is required to safeguard the independence of our Judiciary and indeed protect our hard-won democracy.”