GADZAMA C’TE URGES LAWYERS TO REPORT HARASSMENT BY SECURITY OPERATIVES

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Securities Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) has urged lawyers to report cases of harassment and intimidation to the committee for immediate redress.

In a press statement, the committee urged lawyers “who have or are been unjustly intimidated, harassed, humiliated or subjected to unwarranted hardship in the course of interaction with any security agency” to report to the committee.

The committee also called on security operatives and the general public “to give the needed moral support and lend their voices and resources where needed, to this noble cause of public interest.”

Speaking on the determination of the committee to stem the malaise of incessant harassment of lawyers by security operatives, the Chairman of the committee, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN said: “We neither have guns, machetes nor sticks, but we have the power of persuasion as this Committee is tasked with building bridges and not walls between legal practitioners and the various security agencies….”

Below is the full text of the statement.

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION – SECURITY AGENCIES RELATIONS COMMITTEE (NBA-SARC) ON ITS MANDATE

The NBA – Securities Agencies Relations Committee (the Committee) constituted by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata at the National Executive Council meeting of Thursday, December 16, 2021 was inaugurated on Friday, January 7, 2022, with the following underlisted distinguished legal practitioners as executives and members thereof: 
1. Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, MFR, OFR. (Chairman) – 08022231999 
2. Alex Muoka (Alternate Chairman) – 08033009242
3. Marian Jones (Secretary) – 08033479752
4. Taiwo Lakanu (DIG Rtd.) (Member) – 08037160989
5. Mohammad I. Tsav (Member) – 07035653513
6. Valentine Odili (Member) – 08035047498
7. Adanna Lynda Uba (Member) – 08032925119
8. Chief M. A. O. Iyamanbhor (Member) – 08037204923
9. Julie Ariahu (Member) – 08023411581
10. Salman Alhaji Salman (Member) – 08037252757
11. Nnaemeka Emmanuel Otagburuagu (Member) – 08039566682
12. Peter Chukwunyelu Ikebuaso (Member) – 08033133739
13. John Aikpokpo-Martins (Member) – 08023063841
14. Rabiah A. Hassan (Committee Liaison Officer) – 08063579840

Following the recent surge in cases of maltreatment of legal practitioners by security operatives whilst discharging official duties and obligations to clients, the Olumide-led administration of the NBA, saw the urgent need for an interface comprised of legal practitioners with a rich background and prime networking within security agencies, to work in close liaison with all security agencies across the country. This urgency and relevance, necessitated the establishment of the Committee.

The security agencies which the Committee shall interface with shall include but not limited to the following: the Nigerian Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Customs Service, National Intelligence Agency, State Security Service, Defence Intelligence Agency, etc.

The Committee, which was inaugurated with the following underlisted terms of reference, will regularly meet virtually, and physically as exigencies may demand, to share ideas, brainstorm and implement feasible action-plans towards achieving its mandate:

1. Formulate policies to be implemented by the NBA (whether alone or in collaboration with other stakeholders) that will deal holistically with the risk posed to Nigerian lawyers by security agencies.

2. Collaborate with the relevant security agencies to promote and advance a mutually beneficial relationship between the said agencies and lawyers in Nigerian.

3. Develop and promote proper protocols for engagement with security agencies by lawyers, in the course of carrying out their professional duties.

4. Work with the various branches of the NBA to achieve, at the branch level, objectives that are similar to those set out in these terms of reference.

5. Promptly intervene in cases of harassment, unlawful detention, intimidation, etc. of lawyers (in the course of carrying out their professional duties) by security agencies.

6. Carry out any other function that may be assigned to the Committee by the President or the National Executive Council; and

7. Make recommendations to the NBA President as appropriate and carry out such other functions that are consistent with the foregoing or which are necessary to achieve the mandate of the Committee.

The Chairman, Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN speaking on behalf of the Committee at the inaugural meeting, assured the NBA, that in piloting the affairs of the Committee, he would ensure that the Committee deploys resources in persuading security outfits to work together harmoniously towards achieving a free and fair society. In his exact words: “…We neither have guns, machetes nor sticks, but we have the power of persuasion as this Committee is tasked with building bridges and not walls between legal practitioners and the various security agencies…”.

The Committee has begun setting modalities, and thus, open to receiving recommendations towards ensuring a more harmonious and improved working relationship between members of the Nigerian Bar and the Security Agencies in the country. The Committee wishes to inform all Members of the NBA, security personnel and other stakeholders of proposed courtesy visits to the various aforementioned security agencies to establish strong ties and educate as well as train members of these agencies in dealing with issues which concern or involve members of the legal profession.

The Committee therefore calls on legal practitioners, security operatives and the general public to give the needed moral support and lend their voices and resources where needed, to this noble cause of public interest.
Members of the Nigerian Bar who have or are been unjustly intimidated, harassed, humiliated or subjected to unwarranted hardship in the course of interaction with any security agency, are enjoined to report same to the Committee via the telephone numbers of the Committee members highlighted above.
The official communication channels shall include helplines, Whatsapp numbers, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram and Instagram which will be published in due course.

Dated this Thursday, January 20, 2022.

__________________________ _________________________________________
Marian Jones, Esq.                                                                             Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN
Secretary                                                                                                 Chairman

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