Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja branch, yesterday said the officers who brutalised the Makurdi branch Chairman of the association, Mr. Justin Gbagir, and breached the treasurer’s fundamental rights, must be brought to book. The Abuja branch Secretary, Prince Adebiyi Adetosoye, who made the call in a statement, also called for the re-orientation of law enforcement agencies in the country on rules of engagement with citizens. According to him, this will pave the way for a change of the minds, focus and direction of the agencies to improve and enhance public cordial relations. He said: “It is only then we can anticipate efficiency, effectiveness and an attitudinal change in cordial public relations.” The Makurdi branch Chairman, Gbagir, is currently receiv-ing treatment at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi (BSUTH) after he was allegedly brutalised by officers from the Makurdi Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). However, Adetosoye assured the entire members of the NBA, Abuja branch (Unity Bar) and executives of the NBA Makurdi branch of unwavering support in this difficult time. He said: “Until normalcy is restored in the country and Nigerian lawyers and indeed citizens are treated with utmost respect, we will continue to stand in unity against brutality and lawlessness of any kind. We stand in solidarity with you. “The attention of the NBA, Abuja branch (Unity Bar), has been drawn to the brutal treatment and ill reception that was meted out on Mr. Justin Gbagir, Esq; the chairman of NBA, Makurdi branch and breach of the branch treasurer’s fundamental rights.
“We condemn this act of brutality in very strong terms. This act of brutality by law enforcement agents against lawyers is one brutality too many. “While expressing our regret for the present situation in our country, particularly the imperious and overbearing powers habitually exhibited by the law enforcement agents, it is equally expedient to remind all law enforcement agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that their duty is solely hinged on the enforcement of the law; without which any organisation, however small in number, would crumble.” Quoting Stephen Fry, Adetosoye said “mankind can live free in a society hemmed in by laws, but we have yet to find a historical example of mankind living free in lawless anarchy”. Adetosoye added that the canker worm steadily eating deep into the fabric of the country had constantly been that of police brutality. He said: “However, presently, the EFCC brutality is gradually becoming a thing of grave concern. “Having painstakingly read through the entire EFCC Act, particularly Sections 6 and 7 of the Act which plainly dictate the functions of the Commission; we were unable to locate the paragraph under which the Commission is empowered to maltreat citizens of the country they swore to protect.”