George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Members of the Nigeria Bar Association across Imo State, on Monday, boycotted court sittings, as they staged a protest over police invasion of the Ngor Okpala Magistrate and an alleged assault on the chief Magistrate, Ngozi Onyenemezu and two of their members, Emma Eke and Chukwuemeka Anyanwu.
As early as 8:00a.m, lawyers in their hundreds from across the state, assembled at the premises of the Imo State Judicial Headquarters from where they staged the peaceful protests along the Owerri/Orlu road singing solidarity songs, and displayed placards with various inscriptions such as, ‘Dasuki Galadanshi is not Lawyer-friendly. He must leave Imo state’, ‘Imo state is Under Police siege IG reason with us’, ‘Redeploy Dasuki Now,’ etc.
Addressing journalists, Chairman NBA Owerri branch, Mr. Damian Nosike, who led the protest march described the conduct of the officers of the Imo state Police Command as not only an act of impunity but desecration of the Judiciary.
Nosike said that the policemen, led by one I. Moses, had not only beaten up the Chief Magistrate at Ngor –Okpala Magistrate court, but had called her a prostitute.
According to him, “We are protesting against police brutality on two of our members on July 19 at Umuneke Ngor magistrate’s court and desecration of the judiciary by assaulting a female magistrate.
“They equally called her a prostitute. The female magistrate had ran into her chamber and it took the intervention of the Area Commander to save the magistrate from the hands of the DPO and his men.
“We went to the police command headquarters to see the CP but we waited for three hours without being allowed to see him .we left by 10:00p.m.
“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police to immediately redeploy the Commissioner of Police in Imo State and the immediate dismissal of the DPO and his men.”
Nosike said that they would continue with the protest till their demands were met and that they will boycott court sittings in the entire state for three days.
“We will continue to protest until our request is granted .we will boycott court sittings in the entire Imo state for three days.
“We will officially petition the IGP, police service commission, Human Rights Organisations and the Attorney General of the Federation, demanding that the Imo state CP be sacked and the DPO and his men urgently dismissed and prosecuted.
“If a magistrate and two lawyers could so humiliated and assaulted where lies the hope of the common man, we will not accept it.
“NBA will be the last organisation to condone crime. The magistrate discharged the matter for being defective. And the only crime the two lawyers committed was that they were defense counsel to the accused persons “.
However, spokesman of the Imo State Police Command, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, said that the matter was already a subjudice and that for the members of the NBA to embark on a protest have exposed their ignorance and defect.