The Benin Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association has resolved to immediately withdraw the services of all lawyers registered with the branch from defending persons charged with the grievous and felonious offences of kidnapping and armed robbery.
This Resolution among others was reached in an emergency meeting of the bar held on the 17th day of April, 2019.
The communique which contains the Resolution made available to TheNigerialawyer (TNL), was reached following the cases of kidnap by unknown gunmen against members of the bar.
COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF AN EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION HELD ON THE 17TH DAY OF APRIL, 2019.
WHEREAS at an Emergency Meeting of the Association held on the 17th day of April, 2019 at the NBA House, NBA Avenue, Off High Court Road, G.R.A., Benin City and the Bar after deliberating on the present state of insecurity in the State and the incessant and recurring cases of kidnap and attempted kidnap of members of the Bar and the general public especially the recent cases of the kidnap of its former Chairman, RASAK ISENALUMHE, ESQ. who only managed to escape from his abductors by a hairs breath and the near kidnap of the Coordinator of the Legal Aid Council in the State, MRS. Q. C. OSAWE ODEH and her husband in broad daylight along the Mission Road, Benin City both of whom were severally brutalized by the marauding invaders who finally left them when the security system of their vehicle failed to respond, it was resolved as follows that the following must immediately happen:
1. That the Benin Bar hereby orders the immediate withdrawal of the services of all lawyers registered with the Branch from defending persons charged with the grievous and felonious offences of kidnapping and armed robbery, in this regard and for purposes of emphasis, the Bar resolves that all lawyers registered with the Branch are forthwith prohibited from appearing for kidnap suspects either at the Police Station or in any Court within Edo State.
2. That this Order for the withdrawal of services to Persons charged with the aforementioned offences shall be with immediate effect until otherwise reviewed by a subsequent meeting of the Bar, consequently any member of the Benin Bar found flouting this Resolution/Directive shall be heavily sanctioned accordingly.
3. That the Bar resolves to write to the Judges of the Criminal Division of the High Court of Edo State to dispense speedily with cases of kidnapping and armed Robbery pending before them and to formally report to the Bar State Counsel who appears indolent or shows lack of capacity or diligence in prosecuting these cases including members of the Bar who are fond of filing frivolous applications before the Court to delay the speedy hearing and determination of these cases, for sanctioning by the Bar.
4. The Bar calls on the State Government to rekindle its determination and commitment to the training and retraining of State Counsel and Officers of the State’s Ministry of Justice through capacity building programmes and continuous legal education such as seminars and workshops both within and outside the shores of the State and Country so as to enhance their knowledge of law and their prosecutorial skills and bring them up to date on modern prosecuting techniques through the advancement of science and crime laboratories.
5. The Bar resolves to inflict maximum sanctions and punishments on State Counsel who are found to have compromised their briefs or show lack of capacity or appears indolent in the prosecution of persons charged with the heinous crimes of kidnapping and armed Robbery and on Defence Counsel who have formed the habit of aiding criminals through unconventional methods and unlawful means to escape the long arm of justice. In this regard, the Bar enjoins its members to always bear in mind that as Ministers in the Temple of Justice, they owe allegiance not to their clients but to a higher cause which is the cause of truth and justice.
6. That as a consequence of the above and in furtherance of this resolution, the administration of Criminal Justice Sector Monitoring Committee of the Branch headed by MATTHEW EDEGHASE, ESQ. is hereby mandated to ensure full and unobstructive compliance of all our members with this Resolution.
7. Finally, the Bar calls on the State Government and the security agencies saddled with the statutory duty of protecting lives and properties to live up to their responsibilities and take urgent and preemptive measures to arrest the present slide of the State into anarchy and from degenerating into the hobsian state of nature where life was short, nasty and brutish.
BY ORDER OF THE BAR.
DATED THIS 17TH DAY OF APRIL, 2019.
PRINCE COLLINS BENSON OGIEGBAEN PIUS I. OIWOH, ESQ.
(NBA BENIN BRANCH) (NBA BENIN BRANCH)