While lawyers were busy in Asaba, during the 5th Criminal Justice Reform Conference, working with other stakeholders in the sector to chart a more positive course towards effective justice delivery in our country, _we were hit with the unsavoury news of the unlawful arrest and detention of two lawyers; David Amaefuna Esq and Pius Ufo Inyang Esq of the law firm of Rickey Tarfa & Co by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad ( SARS) of the Nigerian Police attached to Gutzape, FCT in the course of carrying out their professional duties._
This development and the subsequent remand of these gentlemen who I understand are counsel to *Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District* in the Senate on the orders of a Magistrate sitting in Mpape, Abuja, is not only condemnable, but a threat to every legal practitioner’s right to protect and promote the rule of law in our society.
_*As officers in the Temple of Justice, legal practitioners are duty bound to defend their clients within the confines of the law. It is unacceptable for the alleged sins or indiscretions of the client to be visited on a lawyer in any shape or form.*_
_It is high time the police realised that we are in a democracy and their actions must be guided by law and not whims or sentiments._ Unjustified harassment and assault of lawyers by men of the Nigerian police or any other law enforcement agency must cease immediately.
I call on the authorities responsible to effect a full and detailed investigation relating to the circumstances of the ‘arrest’ of our colleagues and ensure that any overzealous security personnel found wanting is made to face the full course of the law.
*Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN, FCIArb. FICMC*