By Onome Oghenetega
The Warri Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Baba Usman and the Delta State Commissioner of Police to investigate the invasion and disruption of proceedings of the Warri High Court in a suit challenging the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as Olu-designate.
NBA, while condemning the incident, demanded that all those involved in the invasion of the court must be arrested and brought to book.
Thugs in their large number alleged to be loyal to the Olu-designate had thronged the court during proceedings in the suit challenging the succession to the stool of the Olu of Warri on Thursday.
The invasion resulted in the disruption of court process which forced the presiding judge of the court, judiciary workers and lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) fleeing for safety.
But reacting to the development through a statement on Friday, Warri NBA, described the attack by the thugs as “despicable and a desecration of the hallowed Temple of Justice.”
The statement signed by its chairman and secretary, Chief Emmanuel Uti and Joseph Omonoseh, demanded the police and Department of State Security Service (DSS) authorities to urgently set up an investigating panel to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“The Officers and entire Members of the Nigerian Bar Association Warri Branch, received with shock and sadness, the news of the unprovoked attack and invasion of the High Court of Justice Warri, by thugs/hoodlums, which led to the disruption of the Court proceedings in the suit challenging the succession to the stool of the Olu of Warri Kingdom on 17th of June, 2021.
“From the reports available to us, the proceedings were going on peacefully until it took a new twist when a crowd of thugs/hoodlums invaded the High Court of Justice 4, Warri, armed with dangerous weapons and chased away judicial staff, litigants, lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who was representing one of the parties and disrupted the proceedings. This act is despicable and a desecration of the hallowed Temple of Justice.
“The Nigerian Bar Association, Warri Branch, condemns in totality this unprovoked attack and barbaric behaviour by the hoodlums/thugs and therefore call on the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State and the Director of State Security Services to immediately set up a team of investigators, to unmask the perpetrators of this reprehensible act”, the statement said.
Warri NBA also called on the security agencies to immediately beef up security around court premises across the state to forestall future occurrence and threat to the lives of judges, judicial workers and lawyers defending clients.
The statement advised warring factions in the Olu of Warri succession crisis to embrace peace and use legal process in resolving their grievances.
“We also call on the Security agencies to immediately set in motion measures to nip in the bud this ugly trend, by providing adequate security in and around the Courts premises in Delta State, to prevent a reoccurrence of this ugly trend.
“We advise the players in the ongoing succession tussle to sheath their swords and allow peace and the law to take its full course, as we cannot afford to see our peaceful and loving Warri Kingdom engulfed by the flames of crisis”, the statement further read.