ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – One of the lawyers representing ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo on Wednesday raised the alarm that Nigeria under the present administration was tilting towards a Police State.
Mr. Emmanuel Jakpa, who is in the legal team of the ex-militant leader was reacting to the arrest of a member of the team, Mr Ebun Olu Adegboruwa by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement sent to Sundiata Post, he said: “Yesterday, we woke up to receive the news that Mr. Adegboruwa, the fiery activist was arrested by the EFCC on allegation of obtaining money under false pretences by dealing in a forfeited asset.
“The most amazing part of this charade of a charge is that Mr. Adegboruwa was not the accused, he only represented a client. Is a lawyer liable to be charged for representing his client in court? What was Adegboruwa’s crime?
“Perhaps, he accepted to represent Tompolo in a criminal case. That case is still pending before the Court of Appeal, he also with my humble self filed an originating process challenging the constitutional legality of several provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. That action is also pending before the Federal High Court. It would appear that the Federal Government is not comfortable with the fact that an ex-militant is represented by high flying counsel or by any counsel at all.
”As a lawyer I do not believe that I should be afraid to represent a defendant simply because of the nature of offence alleged. As the Rules of Professional Conduct states, it is a collective ‘duty of service on the legal profession.’ It is ignoble for the Federal Government to pressure lawyers defending criminal defendants with allegations of crime and to go to such lengths to seek to remove them from the defence of the allegations.
“It would seem that the strategy of this government is to deny the accused persons of legal representation. That would only debase our entire legal system. Thus if a man is accused of rape and he briefs me, I am to ask whether were I to take up his defence I could be accused of rape? And all the prosecution needs to do is to look for any ex-girlfriend to intervene who is willing to allege I raped her and my client is convicted as I have to worry about my own defence. This charade is wearing thin. As I stated earlier, I am a member of the legal team defending Tompolo. I have good reason to expect the EFCC’s visit on trumped up charges. For the record, I have a wife and three kids, but I am not cowed by the forthcoming visit. I welcome it.”