Odinkalu Attacks NBA: You're Responsible for Judiciary Attack
By Ufuoma Egbamuno
Sometimes, it is great to look one in the face and tell them exactly how they have messed up things instead of trying to please them by hiding the truth.
This is exactly what former Chairman of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu arguably did at the 2019 Human Rights Summit organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch to commemorate the Human Rights Day.
Prof. Odinkalu accused the NBA of being partly responsible for the increasing disregard for the Judiciary as well as court orders.
“When the President visited to address Nigerians bar last year and say that he reserved the right to pick and choose what rulings to obey or what judgements to comply with, lawyers actually clapped for him,” Odinkalu told the audience.
Some lawyers present murmured their disapproval but the former NHRC was quick to remind them that it “was on camera and there are YouTube clips.”
Odinkalu continued: “Now in July this year when Abubakar Malami, SAN went up to the Senate for confirmation, he told the Senate that he actually reserved the right to pick and choose what judgement to comply with, the Senate confirmed him and he got nominated at the point as Attorney General. The Nigerian Bar Association didn’t say anything then and it has not said anything now.”
Last Friday, the Department of State Service (DSS) invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja in an attempt to re-arrest #RevolutionNow convener Omoyele Sowore despite the court granting him bail. Sowore was earlier released the day before after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had issued a 24 hour ultimatum to the DSS following its disregard of two court orders for his bail.
Odinkalu insists that it is “at times like this, you know people of character.”
“Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State governor) faces an election in which he is not even sure that his party will have him as a candidate but yesterday he spoke up for his conviction and I hope we can acknowledge that and yet we have a president of the Nigerian Bar Association who said something on the 10pm news on Channels television last Friday and since then has gone quiet and mute.
“The official twitter handle of the President of the Bar is idle, the President of the Bar has not seen it fit to either by himself on his personal handle or on the official handle of the Nigerian Bar Association retweet the statements of the Nigerian Bar association on this issue, our Bar is not fit for purpose.”
A visibly angry Odinkalu noted that the NBA as it is presently constituted isn’t “fit for purpose.”
“You know my track record with respect to this particular leadership of the bar. I am a conscientious objector to this leadership and I continue to do so and the NBA is living with the consequences of the decision it has taken,” the former NHRC Chairman stated.
The 2019 Human Rights Summit was organised by the Lagos Branch of the NBA to commemorate the 2019 Human Rights Day which is celebrated on the 10th of December every year. This year’s theme was: Youth Standing up for Human Right: The Case for Nigeria.
Additional reports by Georges McNobleson Idowu.