- Lawyer Richard Akinola, says Vice President Yemi Osnibajo cannot be held responsible for the actions of Nigeria's secret police in the re-arrest of activist Omoyele Sowore
- Akinola notes that it is impossible for Osinbajo to act where there is a sitting president
- A group, Initiative to Save Democracy (ISD), also recalls how Osinbajo took action against the head of the DSS as acting president and during a similar occurrence
Nigeria's vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, cannot be held responsible for how the DSS stormed a court and re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, a renowned lawyer, Richard Akinola, and a group have told Femi Falana, a senior advocate.
Akinola and the group, Initiative to Save Democracy (ISD), said this in reaction to Falana's suggestion to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that Osinbajo and all senior advocates in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari should be sanctioned for the action of the Department of State Services (DSS) during the re-arrest of Sowore on Friday, December 6.
In his reaction, Akinola “With the greatest respect to my good friend, Femi Falana, l beg to disagree with him in respect of his statement in respect of the Vice president on the Sowore saga."
“It's necessary to put things in proper perspective. There is only one presidency. By my understanding, the VP cannot be issuing statements on an issue when there is a sitting president," he added.
Akinola recalled that Osinbajo, as acting president, took action when a similar incident occurred at the National Assembly.
He noted that the invasion of National Assembly started at about 7am and by 10.30 am, Lawal Daura had been fired as the director of DSS.
“So, it would be unfair to attack the VP on this matter because he is just the VP. The buck stops at the president's table.
"If in the president's wisdom, he refused to take action, he must have his reason. Ours is to speak out for him to take action,” Akinola said.
In its own reaction, the ISD described Falana's position on the issue as mischievous.
In a statement by Peter Oladele, publicity secretary of the ISD, the group noted that no senior lawyer in the Buhari cabinet had acted unprofessionally.
The group further said it was not possible to ask Osinbajo to react when there is a president with the vested powers to act.
"Besides the president, who has the executive powers in the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended, the only person who has responsibility on this matter is the attorney-general of the federation," the group explained.
The group further reminded Falana how Osinbajo acted when the DSS raided the National Assembly
"Why does Mr Falana now think the VP or the lawyers in the cabinet could not advise the president to act in a similar way, after all, it is the same Buhari presidency?" the group asked.
It further urged Falana to remember that section 11 of the NBA’s legal practitioners act has specific penalties for unprofessional conduct and that there is no provision for disciplining lawyers for the actions of other people.
The group urged Falana to rid himself of any emotional outburst and act in line with the laid principles.
“As a group we have condemned the actions of the DSS and have called for the immediate release of Mr Sowore because the court has ordered his release.
We also condemn the re-arrest of Mr Sowore by the DSS it only puts Nigeria in bad light. And we should not use this unfortunate incidents to dent the image of lawyers in the Buhari cabinet," the group said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also called on the United States president, Donald Trump to intervene in the case of Omoyele Sowore.
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