The Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) received disturbing news of an incident involving one of our colleagues, Chinaka Chigozie Esq., who suffered egregious mistreatment while providing legal services to his client.
Upon receiving this distressing report, NBA-SARC initiated a series of actions in respect of the issue. These actions included immediate contact with certain individuals who witnessed the mistreatment of our colleague, including a senior member of the Bar, a magistrate, and an Assistant Chief Registrar in the Imo State Judiciary. Their accounts of our colleague’s ordeal corroborated his harrowing experience, further underscoring the seriousness of this incident.
What makes this incident particularly egregious is that it stemmed from our colleague’s simple act of taking a photograph of the license plate number of his client’s car, a lawful and routine action. This innocuous action should never have escalated into the nightmarish ordeal that followed.
Furthermore, part of this incident unfolded in the presence of a magistrate, who not only witnessed our colleague’s illegal detention and torture but also actively intervened to seek his immediate release. Shockingly, the Area Commander, David Ogbenye, obstinately persisted in the illegal detention and inhumane treatment of our colleague, in defiance of the clear directive from a judicial officer.
Adding to the distressing circumstances is the fact that a senior member of the Bar, Charles Mgbekonye, Esq., was present at the police station when some of these torturous acts took place. Mr. Mgbekonye made attempts to speak to the Area Commander. Regrettably, his attempts were denied.
The NBA-SARC condemns in the strongest terms the treatment meted out to our colleague, Chinaka Chigozie Esq., during this ordeal. It is a grave violation of human rights, an affront to justice, and a stain on the reputation of law enforcement agencies, as well as an embarassment to the legal profession.
In light of these deeply troubling facts, the NBA-SARC demands the immediate suspension of the Area Commander, David Ogbenye. This suspension is imperative to facilitate a thorough and impartial investigation of the grave allegations against him and any other officers implicated in this reprehensible incident.
The NBA-SARC, in collaboration with the leadership of the Owerri Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, is finalising and will soon present petitions to the Commissioner of Police, Imo State, the Inspector General of Police, the Police Service Commission, and the Attorney General of the Federation. These petitions will demand immediate redress, accountability, and compensatory justice for our colleague and ensure that those responsible for these heinous acts face the full consequences of their actions.
We stand firmly in solidarity with our colleague, Chinaka Chigozie Esq., and will continue our resolute efforts to ensure that justice is not only served but also seen to be served. Torture, abuse of power, and the flouting of the rule of law have no place in our society, and we are steadfast in our determination to bring those responsible for this deplorable act to face the full weight of the law.
Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN
Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association – Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC)
Isah Abubakar Aliyu
Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association – Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC)