Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), who leads Mr Omoyele Sowore’s defence team, has asked the Nigerian Bar Association to take disciplinary actions against lawyers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet over what he described as desecration of the court with Sowore’s rearrest at the Federal High Court in Abuja, causing a disruption of court proceedings.
He said his legal team would meet on Saturday to determine the next line of action.
He said there were 10 lawyers with four of them Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who ought to live up to their oath to defend the Constitution and other laws of the country, by ensuring that the rule of law was observed by the government.
The SANs in the cabinet are Vice President Yemi Osinbajon (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo; and Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
He said, “Even though President Muhammadu Buhari has a duty to caution the Department of State Services, the blame of the desecration of the court today (Friday) rests squarely on lawyers in government, who are under a duty to ensure that the rule of law is observed.
“They have all taken the oath to respect the Constitution and other laws of the country. That Constitution guarantees the independence and impartiality of the courts.
“They therefore cannot sit in a cabinet under a regime that terrorises the courts and subverts the rule of law.
“It is a matter the Nigerian Bar Association should take up against the lawyers in the cabinet by instituting disciplinary proceedings against them.”
Faulting the arrest of his client, he described it as contemptuous.
He also noted that it was not backed by any arrest warrant or detention order of court.
He said, “There is no warrant of arrest, there is no detention order. What the DSS did today was the height of contempt of court.
“Nobody is above the law. You either abolish the courts or allow them to function effectively.
“This is a situation where the DSS operatives invaded the court and forced the judge to adjourn proceedings; they chased the judge out of her court, disrupted the proceedings and forced the judge to adjourn all cases.
“These are manifestations of fascism, which cannot be accepted in any civilised society. This has never happened in Nigeria where you take over a court forcefully in order to arrest an unarmed citizen.
You remember that it was the illegal invasion of the National Assembly by masked DSS men that led to the dismissal of the former DG, DSS, by this government.
“So for the same barbaric conduct to occur again is unacceptable. This is a regime that parades 10 senior lawyers, including four Senior Advocates of Nigeria.”