In recent developments that have sent shockwaves throughout the legal community in Imo State, Nigeria, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has come forward to demand the suspension of ACP David Ogenyi, the Police Area Commander of Owerri Municipality. The call for his suspension arises from allegations of torture, humiliation, and illegal detention of an NBA member, Chigozie Chinaka, Esq. This incident has raised concerns about the conduct of the police and their treatment of lawyers who are simply carrying out their lawful and professional duties.
The five branches of the Nigeria Bar Association in Imo State, including Owerri, Okigwe, Orlu, Mbaise, and Mbano/Etiti branches, jointly issued a statement addressing the alleged misconduct of ACP David Ogenyi. Led by the Chairman of the Owerri branch, Ugochukwu Alinnor, ESQ, this statement makes a resounding call for action.
The statement asserts that the Nigeria Bar Association conducted a preliminary investigation into the allegations against ACP David Ogenyi and the officers under his command. The preliminary investigation revealed that ACP David Ogenyi and the concerned officers have a case to answer.
This preliminary investigation further unveiled a disturbing pattern of abuse of office and power by ACP David Ogenyi. Lawyers who visited the Area Command, Owerri Municipality, were reportedly subjected to insults and mistreatment, whether they were attending to personal matters or representing their clients.
The legal community in Imo State is deeply aggrieved by the inhumane treatment meted out by ACP David Ogenyi and his associates. They condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible. Lawyers, who play a crucial role in upholding justice and the rule of law, should not be subjected to brutality by law enforcement officers.
The police have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and properties of citizens, not to treat them with disdain. The actions taken against Chigozie Chinaka, Esq., and others are not only dehumanizing but also raise fundamental questions that demand answers from the highest echelons of both the police force and the government.
In light of these grave allegations and the outcry from the legal community, the Nigeria Bar Association’s five branches in Imo State have presented a series of demands to the Inspector General of Police:
1. Immediate Suspension
The foremost demand is the immediate suspension of ACP David Ogenyi and the concerned officers. This step is considered necessary to ensure a thorough and unbiased investigation into the allegations against him and other officers within the command. The presence of ACP David Ogenyi in his current office at the Police Area Command, Owerri, is perceived as a potential obstacle to the investigation’s integrity.
2. Alternative Action
In the event that the immediate suspension of ACP David Ogenyi and the concerned officers is not deemed feasible, the alternative proposal is the swift transfer of these individuals from the Imo State Police to another State Police Command. This transfer should occur promptly and should be followed by a comprehensive investigation into the allegations.
3. Independent Committee
To ensure the impartiality of the investigation, the statement calls for the constitution of a five-man committee. The committee would be chaired by the Hon. Attorney-General of Imo State, with two senior police officers and two senior members of the NBA Owerri Branch serving as members. This committee’s task is to conduct a discreet investigation into the root causes of the alleged incident.
A Strong Message
The Nigeria Bar Association’s statement concludes with a resounding message: “We say no to any form of police brutality, torture, and impediment of lawyers from the discharge of their professional duties.” It calls upon the heads of security agencies in the state to advise their officers to work harmoniously with lawyers in the administration of the criminal justice system.
The legal community urges security agencies to report any lawyer who becomes unruly while performing their professional duties to the Nigerian Bar Association for disciplinary actions.
In a society where the rule of law is paramount, the call for justice and accountability must not be ignored. The demands made by the Nigeria Bar Association serve as a reminder that the pursuit of justice applies to all, regardless of their profession.
The Nigeria Bar Association’s call for the suspension of ACP David Ogenyi and a thorough investigation into these allegations is not just an assertion of their rights but a strong message that justice must prevail for all citizens.
The legal community in Imo State, Nigeria, has raised its voice against alleged police misconduct, demanding accountability and justice. The call for the suspension of ACP David Ogenyi and a thorough investigation into the allegations is a testament to the importance of upholding the rule of law. The Nigeria Bar Association’s stance against police brutality and abuse of power serves as a reminder that justice must be blind and apply to all, regardless of their profession.
The legal community’s plea is not just for their colleagues but for the fundamental principles that underpin a just society. The Nigeria Bar Association’s message is clear: no one is above the law, and all must be held accountable for their actions.