Posted on LAWYERS IN NIGERIA (Facebook) on On 13/12/2018
I never supported the candidature of Paul Usoro, I was an unrepentant fan of the renowned, amiable and proficient Teacher; Prof. Ernest Ojukwu. That, however can not blind my sense of reasoning or lure me into dancing around the truth in the recent fiasco between the NBA president (Usoro) and the EFCC.
That EFCC is on an errand to harass, intimidate, disgrace and cow the person of Paul Usoro and by implication the entire NBA, is beyond any dispute. Those whose mission EFCC is carrying, are not comfortable with the man’s readiness to always stand for what right, fair and just.
The most unfortunate part of the story is that some lawyers are calling for his resignation as NBA president. This is not just callous but pitiful. This is a clear case of conviction even where no arraignment was done. For any lawyer called to the Nigerian bar to hold so, is to “create a monstrous situation whose manifestation can never be appreciated until fully illustrated”
What happens if the President resigns and his guilt was later unproven? Will he be reinstated to the position after his acquittal? Will his resignation not be an admittance of the alleged offence he has told the whole world he is innocent of? Does he owe any duty in law to prove his innocence or its the duty of EFCC to prove his guilt?
If we allow this, there may not be any NBA president that will complete his tenure as frivolous allegations and charges will now become a sword in the hands of all opposition to the sitting President!
Are we saying the courts must investigate the source of funds of persons who pay fines as options for imprisonment? So lawyers should, after charging their clients, get clearance from EFCC that the funds are not proceeds of crime? Is there limit to which a lawyer can charge his professional fee? The answers to this mind-bugging questions may help me align myself with your position.
I am not in anyway saying that Paul Usoro should not face his trial but must, while doing so, be allowed to enjoy the privileges donated by the 1999 constitution to a person standing criminal trial. Presumption of innocence,….!
Very soon religious organisations will be asked to investigate the sources of funds their members bring as offering, tithes or donations.
We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set, otherwise, we all will suffer it.
My opinion, please!
D.M. Eyyazo Esq. ACIArb (UK)