NBA slams EFCC over ‘rogues, vultures’ comment, demands apology

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

The Nigerian Bar Association has demanded an “unreserved apology” from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the latter’s description of some lawyers as “rogues and vultures”.

In a statement issued by Isiaka Olagunju, General Secretary, on behalf of the NBA, the lawyers’ body distanced its newly elected president, Abubakar Mahmoud, from cases involving two former state governors.

“The NBA condemns in the strongest terms the use of abusive and uncivil language of ‘rogues and vultures’ and such strictures by a public authority,” the NBA said in its statement dated August 29th.

“Name calling and use of abusive language is not expected of any public institution. It is unacceptable. The NBA demands unequivocal withdrawal of this statement and an unreserved apology from the EFCC.”

The EFCC had reacted angrily to a proposition by Mr. Mahmoud, while delivering his inaugural speech last Friday, that the Commission be stripped of its prosecutorial powers so it could focus solely on investigations.

Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC Spokesperson, said the new NBA president’s suggestions were in sync with “a cleverly disguised campaign by powerful forces” to whittle down the agency’s powers.

“It is too much of a strange coincidence that the suggestion to strip the EFCC of its prosecutorial powers is being floated few months after the Commission, in unprecedented fashion, arraigned some senior lawyers for corruption,” Mr. Uwujaren had said.

But in its statement on Monday, the NBA insisted that combining investigative powers with prosecutorial powers in a single agency is the exception, rather than the norm.

“In the UK only the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) enjoys such combined powers,” the NBA stated.

“But given the institutional safeguards, both within the SFO and the maturity that characterizes the UK Criminal Justice Institutions, the abuse of such powers will be highly unlikely.”

The NBA also distanced Mr. Mahmoud from the botched criminal prosecution of James Ibori, a former Delta State governor currently serving a jail term in the UK, insisting their new president had never represented either the EFCC or the Attorney General in a court.

“On the case involving the former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Peter Odili, the EFCC is aware that Mr. Mahmoud was lead counsel in its defense in a civil appeal at the Court of Appeal involving the constitutional challenge of the powers of the EFCC by the Rivers State Government.

“In spite of his best efforts, the case has remained stuck in the Court of Appeal, even after all briefs of arguments had been settled.

“The records of the EFCC will also show that neither Mr. Mahmoud nor his firm has been paid any fee, notwithstanding the nearly 20 court appearances in the matter in the course of the last several years involving air travels (Abuja to Port Harcourt) and hotel expenses.

“It is therefore unkind and misleading for the EFCC to suggest that Mr. Mahmoud was ever involved in any way in the conduct of its criminal cases against and Peter Odili, former governors of Delta and Rivers States.”

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  • Ashibogu

    EFCC has done nothing wrong. What it said is the truth and nothing but the truth. A SAN once collected $50,000 from an Organisation that I used to work for with a view to scuttling a case in Court . The aforesaid money was transmitted to a Judge so that a case in his Court can be adjourned indefinitely on account of a flimsy excuse. That was how the case died and the plaintiff later died. NBA is Nigeria Brokers Association. They are more of brokers than lawyers.

    • Kevin Peter

      Bros, you should have reported immediately otherwise you will be charged as accomplice for concealing a crime!

    • FreeNigeria

      The plaintiff should have bribed Mr death too to avoid dying.

  • Kevin Peter

    When you are employed to do your master”s bidding, all sorts of foul language can be heard. Motor park touts are known for that kind of language, so it is excusable.

  • FreeNigeria

    Does it really matter? How many high profile cases has the EFCC successfully prosecuted?

  • Jacky

    The NBA should shut up. What apology? Apologize for your colluding with looters, sharing our money with them and protecting them? Apologize for destroying the Judiciary by bribing Judges? There are many “rogues, vultures, looters and thieves” in the Nigerian Bar. We are ready for you guys!

  • Karl Imom

    NBA should be ashamed of itself instead of rearing its ugly head in the press. Why should rogue lawyers NOT be described as ROGUE Lawyers? What is wrong with providing an accurate description of criminals in Nigerian Bar Association? Is NBA contesting the fact that there are criminals in their midst? Is Ricky Tarfa NOT a member of the Nigerian Bar Association? Tell NBA to get LOST., Why should EFCC Chairman apologize for calling a spade a spade?

  • tundemash

    So what do you a call a lawyer like Rickey Tarfa ?

  • CEO

    So EFCC’s allegations against Mahmoud are false and mere conjectures to deceive the public and whip up sentiments? This is getting interesting. It will be interesting to see how all these play out.

    • amah sossy

      Please read the story again, maybe you will get it right this time. Complete ignoramus.

  • Tahir

    The problem is that all lawyers are lawyers.