As protests against the arrest and incarceration of the two Abuja-based legal practitioners gather momentum—details have emerged about the events that led to the gross incident that has sparked uproar in the legal community in the past week.
According to Emeka Obegolu:
On Tuesday 24th April, 2018, David Amaefula who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2013, was given firm instructions by the firm to accompany Senator Dino Melaye to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) office Guzape, Abuja to write his statement in respect of an allegation made against him. David Amaefula was to stand as a counsel to Senator Dino Melaye.
After the statement was written, Senator Dino Melaye was further delayed for another two hours for unexplainable reasons. David Amaefula remained by his side all through. Officials of SARS then informed them that they were taking Senator Dino Melaye to court. Senator Dino Melaye followed them in company of David Amaefula and his friends and family.
All these events occurred between the hours of 12.00noon and 1.00pm and we did not hear from David Amaefula anymore that day.
His phones were unavailable.
At about 5.00pm, we received a call that Senator Dino Melaye, was receiving medical attention at the Zankli Medical Centre, Abuja. Three counsel of the firm that afternoon, Regina Okotie-Eboh (Miss), Pius Udo-Inyang Esq and Ololade Shonibare (Miss) were instructed to take a copy of the Notice of Discontinuance earlier served on the firm in respect of the case of the Senator before the Federal High Court 9, Abuja with Charge No. FHC/LOK/20C/2018.
Upon arrival at the hospital, Senator Dino Melaye was slipping in and out of consciousness. Shortly after, armed officers of the Nigerian Police Force who were fully armed surrounded the whole hospital premises. Three officers came into the ward where Senator Dino Melaye was receiving medical attention and they confirmed it was indeed the Senator that was admitted.
At about 7.15pm, Pius Udo- Inyang left the room to get water at the kiosk in the hospital. After 3 minutes, a nurse rushed in to inform the other two counsel that Pius Udo-Inyang had been arrested and shoved into a bus by armed policemen. All efforts made by the two counsel inquire as to the reason for his arrest was futile as the bus drove away after the Senator, Dino Melaye was forcefully carried from his sick bed and taken to the National Hospital, Garki.
Up till that time, the whereabout of David Amaefula was unknown. We had no idea where he was. We later gathered that Pius Udo-Inyang was at SARS. We went there to see him but we were not allowed into the premises. We made inquiries if David Amaefula was in their custody but they said he was not.
On Wednesday 25th April, 2018, three counsel in the firm went to SARS to see Pius Udo- Inyang and we found David Amaefula in their custody. We again inquired as to the reason for their arrest but they were informed that Pius Udo-Inyang and David Amaefula along with two other persons arrested were to be taken to the Magistrate Court.
They were arraigned before the Magistrate Court ,Mpape, before His Worship Zubairu on a FIR. We made oral applications for bail which was opposed by the prosecuting counsel. After submission of counsel, His Worship adjourned the matter to the 30th of April, 2018 for ruling. He further ordered that the Defendants be remanded in custody.
The two counsel have since been remanded at Kuje Prison.
Reports have it that least five senior advocates have expressed readiness to appear for the ‘charged’ counsels at the Magistrate’s Court, Mpape, FCT on Monday.
We anticipate the release of the gentlemen.