P’Harcourt court attack: NBA asks IG to identify, prosecute culprits
The Nigerian Bar Association on Tuesday condemned the last Friday’s attack on the Rivers State High Court’s premises in Port Harcourt.
The association, in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Isiaka Olagunju, called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to set up “a high-powered special investigation team” to identify and prosecute the culprits and their sponsors.
This came on the heels of Monday’s call by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, for the punishment of the culprits.
The CJN had in a statement issued on his behalf by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Awassam Bassey, said if the “the enemies of our peace and democracy” were allowed to go scot-free, it would motivate them to unleash similar attacks on the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court whenever they were displeased by the courts’ decisions.
Violence reportedly erupted on the court premises on Friday when armed thugs loyal to a faction of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State invaded the court where an application by a rival group in the party seeking an injunction to restrain the party from holding the local government congress in the state last Saturday was to be heard.
Judges, lawyers, litigants, court workers and other users were said to have been denied entry into the court premises by the rampaging hoodlums.
Security agencies were however said to have later brought the situation under control following which the judge was able to deliver the ruling in the case.
The NBA said on Tuesday that the court invasion was an attempt to ridicule the judiciary and also to undermine the integrity and powers of the judiciary, calling on the Inspector-General of Police to bring the perpetrators to book.
The statement read in part, “The NBA condemns vehemently the unacceptable act of these thugs who attacked the premises of the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt Judicial Division thereby destroying properties and leaving several persons injured.