Law News
NBA protests SAN’s arrest by EFCC

The Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association on Monday described the arrest and detention of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Ricky Tarfa, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as an affront to justice.

The chairman of the branch, Mr. Martins Ogunleye, who spoke to journalists after the body’s meeting on Monday, demanded an unreserved apology from the EFCC, threatening that the NBA could escalate the matter.

Tarfa was reportedly arrested on the premises of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on Friday evening by operatives of the EFCC.

He was said to have been arrested along with two of his clients, said to be Beninoise.

The EFCC accused the senior advocate of hiding his clients in his car to prevent them from being arrested by the operatives of the EFCC.

Tarfa was reportedly whisked away in his lawyer’s gown and detained from Friday till Sunday evening when he was eventually granted an administrative bail by the EFCC.

It was gathered that the EFCC might charge and arraign him for allegedly obstructing the agency’s investigations.

Ogunleye said the NBA was greatly disturbed by the development, which he said was tantamount to desecrating the temple of justice.

He said even if Tarfa had committed an offence, he should have been treated with more dignity, rather being arrested on the premises of the court, while carrying out his trade as a lawyer.

According to him, it is sacrilegious for law enforcement agents to arrest people on the premises of a church and a court, which were considered from the Victorian age to the present, as hallowed chambers.

He also decried a situation where Tarfa was locked away while his family members and fellow lawyers were denied access to him, noting that even the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), was made to wait for seven hours on Saturday before he could see Tarfa.

He said, “While as a body of lawyers, we support the anti-corruption crusade being waged by the Federal Government presently, we urge that the crusade itself should be fought within the ambit of the law. To do otherwise will be to invite a situation of anarchy.

“While we do not want to join issues or go into the merit or otherwise of why Mr. Tarfa was arrested, we want to note strongly that first, it is an aberration for anybody to be arrested within the premises of the court and the matter is made even more serious when the person arrested is a lawyer practicing his trade within the premises of the court.

“There are certain places where you don’t arrest people; right from the Victorian time, you don’t arrest a man within the precinct of a church; and of course, you don’t arrest a man within the precinct of a court. These places are hallowed places, never to be desecrated.”

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