The Rivers State chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association has denied ever threatening to shut down the courts in the state as a result of the abduction of its members by kidnappers.
The Chairman of the state branch of NBA, Sylvester Adaka, told newsmen yesterday that the NBA only warned it would stop defending matters bordering on kidnapping in court should its members continue to be targets for abduction.
This is in reaction to an allegation by the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, that the NBA in the state was dabbling into political matters by giving ultimatum to government on security issues in the Rivers state.
He said “Lawyers were kidnapped and I, as the chairman of the NBA, granted an interview stating that it was unacceptable to the NBA that lawyers were now targets for kidnap and that we would stop defending matters of kidnap if the trend of kidnap of lawyers continued.
“There was a press conference and it was in writing, signed by all the branches of the NBA in Port Harcourt. There was no time we said we would shut down the courts.
“I don’t know who told the governor that and who he believes. We only said we would stop defending kidnappers; that was all we said and not shut down courts because we have no right or ability to do so.”
Recall that the governor of rivers state at an event to mark the 2019/2020 legal year lambasted the NBA for crossing the red line.
Wike had said, “The NBA kept quiet when they closed down our courts in 2013. It lost its voice and remained indifferent when the homes of judges were brazenly attacked in the dead of night by security agents.
“Again, it looked the other way and maintained a conspiratorial silence when political thugs invaded the High Court premises in a failed politically-motivated bid to stop judges from sitting.
“In the midst of these failures and acts of gross irresponsibility, the Chairman of the Port Harcourt branch of the NBA could have the temerity to issue ultimatum to the state government, threatening to boycott courts on account of an unfortunate kidnap incident that affected a member of the association