The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on Tuesday, May 17, condemned extrajudicial executions in any part of the country, calling them repugnant, barbaric, and unacceptably cruel.
In a statement issued by the NBA President, Olumide Akpata, the bar also urged on security services to do more to stop these terrible acts; and ensure that those responsible face the full force of the law.
The NBA asked the government to immediately begin the prosecution of all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings.
It cited the cases of a young man (simply identified as David) in Lagos who was reportedly lynched by commercial motorcyclists around Lekki; and Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, who was murdered by some of her school mates for alleged blasphemy.
The NBA believes that prosecuting the alleged killers quickly and effectively will build trust in citizens; promote accountability, and demonstrate the government’s commitment to the rule of law.
It also expressed concern about unconfirmed reports that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace.
This is in relation to the murder of Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto; and called on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.
The NBA stated the demand for the suspects’ release, which was accompanied by assaults on innocent civilians; the burning of religious centres, and the damage of property, is concerning; and plainly a test of the state’s willingness to adequately implement its laws and establish rule of law.
It has postponed its annual conference of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL, which was scheduled to take place next week in Sokoto; after critically reviewing the current security situation in the state.
The NBA asked the state government to work closely with the federal government to take steps; and, if necessary, use coercive measures — to restore peace and order in the state, protect lives and property, and deter vandalism and impunity.