The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has said Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, risks losing his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) rank following the invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Odili, a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Olumide Akpata, President of the NBA, stated this at a press briefing in Lagos on Friday.
According to Akpata, the raid on Justice Odili’s home is an attack on the judiciary and he likened it to the raid of the home of seven Supreme Court justices by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) in 2016.
The NBA President said the association rejects the denials by the AGF and security agencies that they did not sanction the raid.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up an independent panel to investigate the incident asides from the one set by Malami, insisting that the AGF cannot set up a panel to investigate an incident in which he is a person of interest.
“We are calling on the President, the head of the executive government arm of government, to set up an independent panel of inquiry, to look into this assault on the judiciary, which is another arm of government because there is a dark cloud hanging and all fingers are pointing at the executive as being behind this action.
“It behoves Mr President to step in immediately, to set up this panel of inquiry, which, at the minimum, will have a judicial officer and the NBA involved so that we can get to the bottom of this issue and ask: who gave that instruction?”
Apata also stated the NBA would ensure that those behind the latest operation, including lawyers, are unmasked and punished.
When asked about the AGF, the NBA President said: “We note that the Attorney General of the Federation has reportedly agreed to make himself available for investigation. This is consistent with the position of the National Executive Council of the NBA, to the effect that the Attorney General definitely has questions to answer. However, he cannot subject himself to a panel that he sets up. This is why the panel to be set up by the President is very necessary.
“If the Attorney General is found culpable, then as a lawyer, we will take him before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee and the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee; because if indeed, he is found to have given the directives that led to the invasion of the home of the Justice of the Supreme Court, then he is not fit to hold the office he occupies presently and continue to be the recipient of the privileges the profession has accorded to him.”
On whether the NBA has the power to discipline Malami, Akpata said: “There is a mechanism, and that is for us to bring him before the LDPC and what does the LPDC do? What is the ultimate sanction, amongst others? He can be stopped from practising law. What does the LPPC do, amongst others? The LPPC can strip him of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria and also the Body of Benchers can reconsider his life membership of that body. So, without mincing words, those are the steps that the NBA can take.”