Two days ago, a group of demonstrators engaged in the unlawful invasion of the residence of the Honourable Justice Mary Peter-Odili in Abuja and thereby infringed on her Ladyship’s fundamental right to privacy guaranteed by section 37 of the Constitution of Nigeria.
The demonstrators were reported to have protested the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in respect of the Bayelsa governorship pre-election case presided over by her Ladyship.
Never in the history of this country has a Justice of the Supreme Court been subjected to such embarrassment over his or her decision.
This unfortunate incident would not reared its ugly head if the the full weight of the law had been allowed to descend on the gang of miscreants who invaded the Ekiti State High Court and beat up a Judge on September 23, 2014 and the armed security operatives who invaded the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court vi at armis on December 6 last year in a desperate bid to arrest Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
However, since both All Progressive Congress and People’s Democratic Party have accused each other of sponsoring the protest the Inspector General of Police should conduct an investigate into the incident.
Upon the conclusion of the investigation the report should be forwarded to the Attorney-General of the Federation with a view to charging the demonstrators with criminal trespass contrary to section 349 of the Penal Code applicable in the Federal Capital Territory.
Since the right of Nigerian Judges to decide cases without fear or favour is an integral part of judicial independence guaranteed by section 36 (1) of the Constitution the National Judicial Council should take up the invasion of Justice Mary Peter-Odili’s official residence with President Buhari.
On its part, the Nigerian Bar Association should follow up the investigation and prosecution of the invaders.
Femi Falana SAN.