NBA blasts Police over arrest of lawyer on orders of Ikwerre LGA chair


Ugochukwu Iwuchukwu

The Nigeria Bar Association, NBA Port Harcourt Branch has called for the immediate release of a legal practitioner Jeffrey Ikechi arrested by the IGP Monitoring Unit.

Jeffrey Ikechi was arrested by the IGP Monitoring team on Monday 17th February 2020 in Port Harcourt over an alleged community crisis.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA Port Harcourt Branch, Sylvester Adaka, during a press briefing in Port Harcourt condemned the indiscriminate arrest of Nigerians by the Police.

Sylvester Adaka said the matter in question is already in court and threatened to hold the Police responsible should anything happen to the lawyer.

He also berated the Police for levelling trump-up charges against innocent Nigerians.

Sylvester Adaka said the lawyer was accused of murder when the case is purely a civil matter.

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He said the NBA has written to the Inspector General of Police over the matter.

The NBA Chairman said he is very confident the IGP will intervene in the matter.

In his comment, the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association NBA, Port Harcourt Branch, Chidi Ekeh, said the Police should allow lawyers to practice their profession.

He frowned at the constant arrest of lawyers by the Police over a disagreement between their clients.

Ekeh, who is also the Chairman NBA Human Rights Committee, said the Police should conduct their investigations thoroughly before making any arrests.

Human Rights Lawyers in Rivers state have lamented the arrest and the continued detention of one of its members Jeffrey Ikechi allegedly on the orders of the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike.

Spokesman of the Lawyers Watch for Justice International Initiative, Gbenga Oladapo, said Ikechi Jeffrey was arrested on trump-up charges by Samuel Nwanosike despite a subsisting restraining order from a Port Harcourt High Court.

Gbenga Oladapo said the matter took another twist when Samuel Nwanosike also ordered the arrest of the younger brother of Ikechi Jeffrey who is physically challenged and moved both of them to Abuja.

Meanwhile, the aged mother to the two brothers who are now in detention, Beatrice Onuah, told our correspondent that her sons are not thieves and begged the Ikwerre local government chairman to set them free.

When contacted, the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike denied arresting the two Onuah brothers.

He told a media briefing that an oil company operating in the area URGRESS Energy of allegedly using some gangs in the area to destabilize the community.

Meanwhile, one of the lawyers to the complainant, Chizzy Enyi has urged the Nigerian Bar Association and the Civil Liberty Organizations to apply restraint over its call for the release of Jeff Ikechi who is undergoing investigation by the police.

Chizzy Enyi called on the NBA to visit the Police and find out why he is been detained.