The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA- SPIDEL) Sunday decried what it called the continued harassment and intimidation of lawyers by security agencies.
It particularly condemned the practice of compelling lawyers to drop their mobile phones before accessing the premises of the security agencies, describing it as “yet another misnomer in lawyers’ interface with security agencies.”
“This practice has no legal backing. Most importantly, the reason advanced for the unconventional practice is not only laughable but illogical. What is the dire security implication of allowing a Nigerian citizen to use his telephone in police, EFCC or DSS office? Simply, there is none,” said the chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, Dr Monday Ubani.
He disclosed that in addressing this issue frontally, the NBA-SPIDEL had concluded plans to convene a parley with all heads of security agencies in Nigeria to enable each stakeholder in the justice system adequately understand its role and responsibility in criminal justice administration.
He said the maltreatment of lawyers ranges from brutalisation to denial of the use of their communication gadgets as well as the arbitrary transfer of cases to the headquarters in Abuja even when all the parties reside outside Abuja.
On the issue of transferring all cases to Abuja, Ubani reminded the security agencies of the all-important issue of jurisdiction in the administration of criminal justice.
The NBA-SPIDEL, therefore, demanded that every offence which is alleged to have been committed in any state should be investigated and tried within the jurisdiction where it occurs.