As we may recall, the Gadzama-led Nigerian Bar Association-Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) had written to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Sevice, condemning the acts of the NCS as seen meted out to a man in a video that has now gone viral. The NBA-SARC further released a statement condemning the acts of the NCS and urgently made a public invitation to the Legal Practitioner in the viral video or anyone with relevant information on the identity, name and/or NBA Branch of the victim , to come forward ahead of the NBA-SARC’s planned visit to the NCS. In accord with this urgent appeal, the NBA-SARC has successfully unravelled the identity of the Legal Practitioner in the viral video.
The Legal Practitioner has now been identified as Kolawole Isaac Abubakar, Esq., a senior lawyer at Refuge Chambers who hails from Kogi State. In the meeting held with the Chairman of the NBA-SARC Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN on Sunday, February 27, 2022, Mr. Abubakar informed the Learned Silk that he was detained by the NCS for 3 hours on the fateful day in September 2021. During the meeting, the Learned Silk was able to make the following vital findings from the Legal Practitioner:
- The mobile phone which was used to record the dastardly incident was damaged and as a result of this, the video could not be made public as soon as the incident occurred.
- The recording of the viral video was only retrieved recently and thus, the decision to make it public now.
- Also, Kolawole Abubakar Isaac, Esq. has since given the NCS a pre-action notice to sue them.
- Kolawole Isaac Abubakar, Esq. further narrated that leading to the assault by officers of NCS, one Alhaji Danjuma Aliyu engaged the legal services of Refuge Chambers to represent him in ensuring the release of his vehicle which was held in the custody of NCS.
- That on the receipt of a letter from Refuge Chambers, NCS invited Refuge Chambers for a meeting and Kolawole Isaac Abubakar, Esq. being a senior lawyer at Refuge Chambers was instructed to attend the meeting at the customs headquarters along with the Client.
- On arrival, they were directed to an officer named F.C Nweze. At the office of F.C Nweze questions were being asked and when Barr. Kolawole Isaac Abubakar attempted to explain the situation and the position of the law, the officer in charge (F.C Nweze) got angry and ordered that the lawyer be bundled and detained in the detention facility at the headquarter and as a result of that he was brutalized and harassed.
Kolawole Isaac Abubakar, Esq. utilized the opportunity to apologize for the delay in the release of the video and for his omission to report the matter formally to the NBA, which had led to some tension in the legal community. He stated that he is handling the matter for his client’s vehicle as well as pursuing a civil suit against NCS for damages. He expressed his gratitude to Chief Gadzama and the NBA-SARC for their efforts which had brought succor to many legal practitioners, particularly the younger members of the profession.
In line with the mandate of the committee, NBA-SARC is now intervening in the matter and would continue to ensure that justice prevails in this matter and in every other matter that involves the maltreatment and harassment of legal practitioners by security agents across Nigeria.