Gombe Branch of Nigerian Bar Association has set up a 7 man committee to prosecute assault by prison warders against a Senior member of the branch Mr. Joseph Kolchi Esq.
A press statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer by the Publicity Secretary of the branch, Alhussain Ibrahim Esq.
The seven-man committee comprises of :
1.Mr. I. M. Attahir,
2.Mr. P. A. Aki,
3.Mr. M. A. Galaya,
4.Mr. L. A.
5.Haruna, Mr. A. M. Inuwa,
6.Mr. Sati Benjamin and
7.Mr. Abubakar Kumo Abdullahi.
We urge all members of the branch to join hands with the committee to prosecute the matter to its logical conclusion.
Recall The Incident As Narrated By Mr Joseph Kolchi
Mr. Joseph Kochi, a legal practitioner of 30 years post-call practice has practiced all this while in Gombe except for the period he underwent the mandatory national service.
He is one of the pioneer members of NBA Gombe Branch, who in the course of his legal practice has visited the Prisons and Police Stations in Gombe State and elsewhere more than one thousand times.
On the 16th August, 2018 he went to Gombe Prisons to visit his client who is one of the inmates awaiting trial there. Mr Kolchi was in company of one Ayuba Iliya. When they reached the first road block on the road leading to the Prison, he introduced himself and told them the purpose of his visit. The Mobile Police and Prison Security Guards directed him to proceed. He repeated the same procedure at the second road block.
He was directed to proceed to the gate and knock and introduce himself to the officer manning the gate. When he reached the gate he introduced himself and informed the officer manning the gate that he wanted to see his client. That officer refused to open the gate but informed the Welfare Officer who came and directed the gateman to allow Mr Kolchi in.
When he entered the Prison one officer (ASP I Musa Haruna) shouted at him asking about his mission. He introduced himself again and told him he was there to see his client. The officer said that he did not care whether Mr Kolchi was a lawyer, that he would not be allowed to see his client. Mr Kolchi then told him that he was not there for a fight. At that point, the officer abused Mr Kolchi calling him stupid and he replied that it was nonsense for the officer to behave in that manner.
The altercation drew the attention of other officers. Then CSP Shamgar Dauda called for the attention of the lawyer and he was ushered into an office opposite that of the Deputy Comptroller of Prison (the officer in charge of the Prison). He introduced himself.
Then CSP Dauda asked him what he wanted. He repeated that he was there to visit his client but that ASP I Haruna wanted to prevent him without any explanation.
CSP Dauda said that he only wanted to know the purpose of the visit. Mr Kolchi stated that his mission was to see his client and proceeded to narrate to the said CSP Dauda what ASP I Haruna did. The said CSP Dauda now became infuriated because Mr Kolchi did not sit on a stool he offered when there were seats for visitors. CSP Dauda then directed the Prison Warders that they should bundle him out.
The Prison Warders accordingly severely brutalized Mr Kolchi and carried him like a sack and threw him on the concrete floor outside the gate. Then PIP I Sani Ribadu continued using his boots to step on Mr Kolchi’s abdomen even when Ayuba Iliya was pleading that the man had just recovered from sickness.
The officers that directed and/or participated in the manhandling and abuse were up to ten. But the ones whose names he can recall are ASP I Musa Haruna, CSP Shamgar Dauda and PIP I Sani Ribadu.
He sustained injuries as a result of the assault to the extent that he could not drive his car. He had to call Mr. P. A. Aki, Esq. who drove him to report the issue at the Gombe Division Police Station from where he was taken to State Specialist Hospital Gombe for treatment.