The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has declared a state of emergency on the legal profession.
The development followed the arrest of some judges on Friday, October 7, by the Department of State Service (DSS) over allegations of corruption.
Legal practitioners, opposition leaders and several other Nigerians have condemned the actions of the security operatives who were said to be carrying out PresidentMuhammadu Buhari‘s order.
Speaking on Sunday, October 9, at a news conference in Lagos, the NBA President, Mr Abubakar Mamoud (SAN) demanded the immediate release of the detained judges – JusticesSylvester Ngwuta and Justice Okoro, both of the Supreme Court.
Mamoud said: “I have declared a state of emergency on the legal profession over the matter and I have invited past Presidents and Secretary Generals of the association.
“I have also set up a Crisis Committee team which shall consist of past Presidents and Secretary Generals of the association to follow up on the matter.”
On whether the NBA will boycott the court in protest, he said members should allow the leaders handle the matter while they wait for further directive.
He also discountenanced suggestions that there might be ethnic and religious colouration to the arrest, detention and harassment of the judicial officers.
“I have been in touch with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, on phone over the development. We will go to any extent to ensure that the rule of law is followed in the way things are done in the country,” he added.
However, the Presidency has that the operation was not targeted at the judiciary as an institution but on some of its corrupt officers.