The Eti-Osa Bar Forum has stated its positions on the planned strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, acute insecurity among other issues.
The full statement is reproduced below:
We are constrained to respond to emerging developments in our body polity. As a Forum of legal practitioners, we are of the view that our historical role is to act as guiding light in this period of national discord and darkness.
UNKNOWN GUNMEN’S ATTACKS ON POLICE FORMATIONS IN IMO STATE: NIGERIA TOTTERS ON THE BRINK
We are seized of the attack by unknown gunmen on the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and the Imo Correctional Centre leading to burning of the former and the freeing of detainees in the latter.
We condemn in its entirety these destructive acts and call for proper inquiry into the circumstances that led to same. We are also of the view that the entire incident puts into doubt the security architecture in defence of ordinary citizens.
We are also aware of the claim of the Inspector General of Police , Adamu Adamu to the effect that the Eastern Security Network and the Indigenous People of Biafra are the ones behind the attack.
We are of the view that proper investigation needs to be carried out in order to ascertain the profiles the Police High Command is putting out.
We are also seized of the comment of Bashir Ahmed, a social media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari ordering clampdown of security forces on IPOB and ESN.
While we do not hold brief for either IPOB or ESN, we are of the view that what “clampdown” and “deployment of additional units ” of security forces have always led to is the repression of democratic rights of innocent citizens and not apprehension of the culprits.
INTERROGATING THE OBASANJO- GUMI VERSUS EL-RUFAI DIATRIBE ON INSECURITY
We are also seized of the Joint Statement of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Sheik Gumi , issued , in their words , “as part of their continued efforts to find solutions for the general insecurity in the country and particularly for the menace of banditry, kidnapping and ransom payment” , wherein they recommended others,
Education of 14 million out-of-school children, Creation of Special courts to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons as well as payment of ransom.
We are also seized of the statement credited to Mallam EL-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, where he disagreed pointedly to the panacea of ransom payment and clearly stated that bandits in his state will be terminated.
We are of the view that the two perspectives , despite some fundamental fallacies contain valid points. While reactionary bandits cannot be eased off the business by ransom payment, termination of their lives without tackling the social basis of their crisis is inexhaustive.
WHY NBA SHOULD CALL EMERGENCY NEC TO JOIN JUSUN TO FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIARY AND INTERVENE ON INSECURITY
Having outlined these issues of insecurity, we are constrained to call on the national leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association to convene an Emergency National Executive Committee Meeting to discuss same and arrive at practical actions that can be undertaken. This will include but not limited to tour to affected states in the country and putting forward appropriate pressure on government to do the needful.
We are of the view that the urgency of the convocation of the Emergency National Executive Committee Meeting becomes paramount at the face of the indefinite strike action of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria(JUSUN).
We are seized of the statement of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association ,Mr. Olumide Akpata to the effect that the NBA welcomes the agitation of JUSUN for an indefinite strike action but considers the “timing” as wrong.
The question to ask is that what serious step as the NBA taken as a body of legal practitioners that have an higher stake in the Judiciary sector to wage the struggle for independence of the Judiciary?
As Eti-Osa Bar Forum , we have shouted our voices hoarse that the only way that the political elite can be forced to act in the interests of the Bar is through engagements in form of court boycotts and mass protests.
Having neglected the route of court boycotts and even abandoning the agitation for independence of the Judiciary, why is the NBA trying to woo JUSUN from the route the NBA should have taken?
We are of the humble view that it amounts to begging the question on the part of the NBA National leadership to think it can persuade a trade union which have entered into the arena of industrial dispute over both monetary and non-monetary demands without arriving at the stage of obtaining concrete concessions from government. It is more or less like running after a lion chasing its prey.
We hold that the NBA National leadership should strike when the iron is hot and join JUSUN in waging the struggle for independence of the Judiciary once and for all by calling out lawyers for solidarity marches.
On our part, we extend solidarity with the ongoing nationwide indefinite strike of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and we will undertake solidarity actions with them in the struggle for independence of the Judiciary.
We will keep our friends in the media aware of our next steps.
OLADOTUN HASSAN ESQ.