- Some members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in Imo have demanded the immediate sack of the state commissioner of police for allegedly assaulting a magistrate
- The commissioner, Dasuki Galandanchi, had, according to the angry lawyers, assaulted the female magistrate, Ngozi Onyenemezu on Monday, July 23
- Damian Nosike, the chairman of the Owerri branch of the NBA, described the development as an insult on the judiciary by the police
Following allegations of assault from the commissioner of police in Imo, Dasuki Galandanchi, on the magistrate of Umuneke Ngor Magistrate’s Court, Ngozi Onyenemezu, and two lawyers, Emma Eke and Chukwuemeka Anyanwu, during a court session on July 19., lawyers in the state embarked on a protest on Monday, July 23.
The lawyers demanded the immediate sack of Galandanchi and the divisional police officer of the Ngor Okpala unit, E.Moses by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, Punch reports.
In response to the move of the legal practitioners, the state commissioner of police allegedly said that members of the Owerri branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) are ignorant of the law.
Damian Nosike, the chairman of the Owerri branch of the NBA, referred to the development as “police desecration of the judiciary.” Nosike also said that apart from assaulting the female magistrate, the policemen insulted her, calling her “a prostitute.”
It all started when Onyenemezu reportedly discharged a criminal case involving three robbery suspects which was filed by the police on the ground of the charges of “being defective.” The two lawyers who were assaulted are counsel for the accused.
However, speaking to newsmen on Tuesday, July 24, Galandanchi said that the two lawyers attacked his men. He stated that a video clip of what transpired in the court and how the lawyers aided the escape of two out of the three armed robbery suspects were with the police, insisting that his command would use the video clip as evidence in court.
Galandanchi said: “The two lawyers who are counsel for the three armed robbery suspects attacked policemen. The video clip of what transpired in the court and how the lawyers broke chairs and used them on my men is with us.
“One of the lawyers positioned his car in front of the door to the court room in order to prevent the police from re-arresting the suspects once they stepped out of the court.
“We never invaded the court and no police officer attacked or assaulted the magistrate. We were waiting for the discharged robbery suspects to step out of the court so that we can re-arrest them. But the two lawyers who were defending them prevented us.
“They positioned their vehicle at the door of the court in order to aid the escape of two out of the three suspects. One of the lawyers went inside and broke chairs in the court and used it on my men who were on a lawful duty. We have the video clip and we will be using it as one of our evidence in court.”
He said that it was because of the escape of two suspects that the police arrested the lawyers for aiding and abetting the escape of criminal suspects, adding that the lawyers who were on bail had been arraigned before a magistrate on Friday, July 20, 2018, on eight counts.
He stated: “We arraigned the two lawyers for assisting the robbery suspects to escape. As we speak, two of the suspects are on the run. It is on that basis that we are prosecuting the two lawyers.
“He who goes to equity must go with clean hands. The lawyers should allow the court to decide. Their protest is shameful and a product of ignorance. I can’t believe that lawyers who are supposed to know more about the law are protesting on streets about a case before a court of competent jurisdiction without allowing the court to adjudicate it.
“No amount of distraction will make us not to go on with the prosecution of the two lawyers because they aided the escape of two robbery suspects.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the NBA, Ikeja Branch, had rejected the 50 per cent reduction of the Land Use Charge recently reviewed by the Lagos state government.
The chairman, Adesina Ogunlana, told newsmen on Thursday, March 15, that the reduction by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led-administration was “unacceptable”.
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