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Friday, 20 December 2019

OPINION: ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON BARRISTER IFEANYI EJIOFOR IS AN ATTACK ON THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

OPINION: ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON BARRISTER IFEANYI EJIOFOR IS AN ATTACK ON THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

It is disappointedly unfortunate that nothing has yet been tangibly heard from the camp of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) since the despicable assassination attempt was carried out against the person of Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor by the Nigerian security forces. The legal practitioner is a reputable/bonafide member of the body of lawyers in Nigeria who narrowly missed being killed in an ill-fated assassination attempt by the Nigerian Police Force in company of the Nigerian Army on Monday 2nd December 2019. The Anambra State Police Command acting on the strict instructions of the Nigerian government, carried out a genocidal raid in the village compound of the Barrister at Ifite-Oraifite home, in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra State, purposefully to get him out of the way. However, the legal luminary miraculously escaped the plot as he was not at home when the "messengers of death" came calling. Four innocent civilians were killed, several others including his aged/bereaved mother, sustained varying degrees of gunshot injuries, household properties estimated at seven hundred million naira (N700,000,000) were destroyed and houses set ablaze. A contingent of armed police officers were escorted in the deadly mission by the Nigerian soldiers to ensure that the Barrister does not escape the assassination plot.

It is however absurd that up till date, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which the professional lawyer rightly belongs, has kept sealed lips. Despite the fact that a strong worded petition has been forwarded by Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor to the law body pertaining the death plot, nothing has been done. NBA is expected to have strongly registered it's anger over the incident by sueing not just the Nigerian Police Force for the dastardly act but to take further action that will forestall future occurrence and such level of impunity. Assassination attempt on any member of the NBA should be an attack to all members. The Nigerian Bar Association should as a matter of urgency, rise up to sue and challenge the security agencies allegedly involved in this malady. Potential claim of the damages regarding the genocidal raid in the compound of a respected member has to be made. If the legal body fails in it's right to drastically take action on the matter against the police for infringing on the fundamental human right of a licensed legal practitioner in Nigeria, it then creates an avenue to further the reckless attack on NBA members each time the Nigerian government is unhappy with any legal practitioner putting up a defense in court on behalf of his/her client.

The Nigerian Bar Association must courageously seek redress in the court of law by demanding to know the crime committed by their member, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, that would warrant such magnitude of lethal attack and carnage. Although the Barrister as the principal victim of the general mayhem that transpired at Ifite-Oraifite, Anambra State, may have instituted a legal action against the police in his capacity, it is the collective duty of the Nigerian Bar Association as a body, to commence a legal action against the security agencies for this callous act of state-sponsored terrorism. If therefore the NBA foot drags or reneges on it's responsibility due to sectionalism, let it be made known that though it may have been Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor today, tomorrow could be another day for someone from Ogun or Sokoto States to have a taste of the murderous venom of police brutality and terrorism. Discharging one's professional duties as clearly specified even in Nigeria laws, have unfortunately been criminalized under the nose of judiciary. The ball most certainly is in the court of the NBA and the world is expectantly waiting and watching to see how this police assault against Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor will be eventually handled.

Written by Mazi Onyebuchi Eze

Edited by Peter Oshagwu
For Family Writers Press International

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