Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has tasked legal practitioners to rise to the challenge of protecting the judiciary from interference.
Nigerian Tribune reports that the governor made this call at the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ibadan branch, held at Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, on Monday, December 9.
Making specific reference to the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services (DSS), Akeredolu, who chaired the occasion, urged the bar to condemn the DSS for desecrating the nation’s courtroom.
He warned that judges were at risk of being arrested in wig and gown during court session if the bar continued to adopt a passive and inactive posture to addressing issues.
He, therefore, urged legal practitioners to shrug off timidity and live up to their training which demands courage in prosecution.
His words: “We must be terror against demagogues. It is when your voice of the bar is heard consistently that it will earn respect.
“Will people go and desecrate our courtrooms and we keep quiet? The bar must condemn it. There is no explanation anybody can give you.
“Somebody calls it drama. Drama! How? What we saw was not drama, you must stand up to condemn the SSS for what they did in Abuja.
“Our spirit must remain indomitable. Forget about where we are today because enough of us made efforts to say what you have done is wrong and only way out was apology almost immediately but what people believe is different. You must write to justify what is not justifiable.
“If we are not careful, the day will come that people will walk into a judge’s sitting and arrest people with their wig and gown.
“I am not saying our judges are timid but in the face of the gun, most of our judges will shake.”
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society organisations has given President Muhammadu Buhari 14 days ultimatum to release Sowore and all prisoners of conscience in the country.
The groups include Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Enough Is Enough (EIE), Concerned Nigerians, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) among others.
They condemned the attacks on the judiciary and free speech which they said was aimed at silencing Nigerians.