BY: SAYO AKINTOLA
Following the attacks on court in Ekiti State on September 22 and 25, some lawyers have petitioned the National Human Rights Commission, accusing the state’s governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, and his party, the People’s Democratic Party, of violating their rights to practise their profession.
The lawyers added that the attacks on the court allegedly led by Fayose’s supporters and the PDP, constituted a threat to their lives.
The petitioners are two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Norrisom Quakers and M.J. Onigbanjo, who are lawyers of the litigants that are challenging Fayose’s eligibility to contest in the June 21 governorship election which he won.
Already, the National Judicial Council, had at its emergency meeting on September 16 asked the Inspector General of Police to investigate the incident and prosecute the culprits.
The Nigerian Bar Association too had said it was going to send an investigative team to Ekiti State to unravel those behind the incident and bring them to justice.
In their petition addressed to the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, and dated September 29, The Street Journal learnt that the petitioners urged him to use his “good office and wherewithal at your disposal to investigate this matter”.
They urged the commission to by its investigation into the incident to unearth “those behind this shameful display of banditry and gross violation of human rights with a view to prosecuting and bringing them to justice”.
The petitioners accused the PDP of organising the thugs that invaded the Ekiti High Court premises on September 22 and attacked Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi and the claimants that were in court.
The attackers reportedly regrouped on September 25 to disrupt court proceedings and attack judges during the hearing of a petition challenging the election of the Fayose as the governor-elect.
Quakers and Onigbanjo described the attack on the judges on September 22 as “barbaric and barefaced violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the claimants (litigants), claimants’ counsel, the judge and other officers of the court by thugs who were organised by the Peoples Democratic Party”.
Part of the petition read, “We are therefore apprehensive for our safety and that of our legal team’s lives, the dignity of our human persons, our right to practice our profession and our clients’ rights as citizens of Nigeria to seek redress in the court of law.
“All the foregoing rights mentioned above were clearly violated by the instigated mob, whose objectives included ensuring that the court did not deliver its scheduled ruling at 12 noon and or conduct any other business thereafter and to bully, intimidate and instill fear in the court in an attempt to obstruct justice to the point where the court would be too apprehensive to subsequently hear the case prior to the swearing in of Fayose on the 16th of October,2014.
“Should this unfortunate display of desecration of the hallowed temple of Justice which is supposed to the last hope of the common man be allowed to persist unprosecuted, the we all would be recorded for posterity as the people who sat with arms folded while miscreants and hooligans took over and controlled the administration of Justice and overall balance of the society.”