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NBA will always stand in defence of the rule of law and right to civic expression — Olumide Akpata

By Kalu Nwokoro Idika

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The Nigerian Bar Association has dismissed a statement credited to its former vice chairman, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins that President Muhammadu Buhari has the constitutional power to crush separatist agitators in Nigeria

However, in a statement made by the current president of the association, Olumide Akpata said the view expressed by its former vice chairman do not in anyway represent the general opinion of the association

He said NBA as an association was founded to defend the Rule of Law and as such, will continue to champion and defend the rights of every Nigerian citizen and/or group including, inter-alia, the right to lawful and peaceful protest; the right to make lawful demands recognized under the Nigerian Constitution

The statement read, “Dear Colleagues,

“My attention has been drawn to news reports, currently making the rounds, in which the 1st Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins, was quoted as saying that the President of Nigeria is constitutionally bound to “crush” secessionist agitators in Nigeria.

“In response to the many enquiries I have so far received from members of the Association and indeed the general public, it has become necessary to state categorically that, as was affirmed in the said news report, the views expressed by the 1st Vice President are his personal views which he posted on his Facebook account in the course of an online exchange, and that the said views do not represent the position of the NBA on the subject.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the NBA, as an Association founded to defend the Rule of Law, will continue to champion and defend the rights of every Nigerian citizen and/or group including, inter-alia, the right to lawful and peaceful protest; the right to make lawful demands recognized under the Nigerian Constitution or international charters applicable to Nigeria; and the right to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise by a Court of Law in a free and fair trial that accords with the basic principles of natural justice.”

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