The Rumoured Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) attempt to arrest and arraign the President of the Nigerian Bar Association over the Legal fees paid to him by the Government of Akwa Ibom State is unsettling lawyers across Nigeria.
For the first time since the rancorous election of the Professional body in August, Lawyers are uniting to form a common front in defence of their profession.
Nigerian Lawyers who are members of the National executive Council (NEC) will hold a meeting in Abuja on the 6th of December and many arrived the capital city on the 5th of December to a fake news that the President has been arrested. Subsequently, another news broke out that the EFCC is planning to arraign him on the 10th of December.
Lagos Mail is yet to confirm it .Many lawyers are still in doubt that the EFCC will announce the date of arraignment in the media before doing it. It has been the style of the commission though.
Information reaching Lagos Mail has it that the EFCC has been pressuring Mr Usoro to advice Akwa Ibom State government to withdraw the suit it filed against them for freezing their account. The matter came up today 5th of December and the EFCC seeing that the Akwa Ibom State government is not willing to withdraw the matter has intensified the blackmail of Mr Usoro.
It can also be recalled that Mr Usoro was one the lead counsel in the case of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Code of Conduct Tribunal which was quashed and the EFCC chair holds Saraki responsible for his non confirmation as a substantive head of the commission.
Lawyers are not taking this news lying low. Hundreds of lawyers including senior advocates of Nigeria, a former President of the Bar, Senior Lawyers have volunteered to be part of the case which they see as a fight to save the legal profession from an unlawful incursion by law enforcement agents. As at the night of December 5th,a high powered meeting of lawyers held in Abuja, the city of the NEC meeting which was later adjourned to include other members of the bar. Paul Usoro was yet to join the meeting as at the time it ended.
Amidst the unity the situation is bringing, a few lawyers who are still disgruntled about the outcome of the election are still trying to use the situation to score a cheap point but lawyers are shouting them down.
In the coming days,Nigerians will watch how events will unfold between the commission which has become some sort of a bully and Nigeria’s most respected Professional association.