THE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on Thursday, released a damning statement on the alleged assault on a private security guard by chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Justice Danladi Umar at the Bannex Plaza, Abuja.
The statement, signed by the group’s publicity secretary Rapulu Nduka, said the ‘display of naked power’ by persons in the calibre of Umar would not be condoned by the association.
Umar was seen in a widely-circulated video on Monday, March 29, slapping a private guard repeatedly in company of his police escorts and driver before sympathisers at the market began to shout at him and forced him out of the plaza.
The victim, a 22-year-old Clement Sargwak, told Premium Times that he was slapped by Umar, his driver and police escorts severally before being whisked to Maitama police station where he was subsequently bailed by the plaza’s lawyer.
He said his sin was that he had called Umar’s attention to his car that was parked wrongly and was obstructing other visitors to the plaza.
Umar would not take such an effrontery from him as a top government functionary. He slapped the young man severally, stripped him naked, pushed him to the ground and stepped upon him, together with his security aides, Sargwak had told Premium Times.
NBA said an infraction like assault accusation against the CCT boss was more worrisome when it involved the head of an agency of government set up to ensure compliance with the code of conduct by public officers.
As a trained lawyer, NBA said Umar was expected by the extant rules regulating the conduct of legal practitioners in the country to maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and not to engage in any conduct unbecoming of a member of the legal profession.
It then vowed to probe circumstances leading to the incident and ensure justice was served.
The body, however, noted that prima facie (first/available) evidence on the incident raised questions on the extent to which the chairman had kept the rules of both his office and the association.
Earlier reports by The ICIR on the incident
The ICIR had, on Wednesday, March 31, reported how Umar defended assualt on the private guard in a message laden with grammatical, structural and ethical errors, as well as ethnic slurs.
Head of press unit of the organisation Ibraheem Al-Hassan issued the statement on the instruction of Umar.
He was, however, summoned by minister of information Lai Mohammed hours after the statement went viral on social media “to come and clear some issues” related to the statement.
The ICIR exclusively reported Al-Hassan admitting he wrote and gave out the statement to journalists but failed to proofread it.
He also said Umar instructed him to include ‘Biafran Boys’ in the statement.
Speaking in emotion-laden voice, Al-Hassan said he regretted his action and was unsure of his fate in the hands of the minister, whose ministry deployed him to serve as information officer at the CCT in 2013.
Al-Hassan’s statement went viral on social media as Nigerians derided him and his organisation (the CCT).
He used ‘video cliff’ in his statement, rather than ‘video clip.’ Also, he preferred using ‘packing lot’ to the correct version, ‘parking lot.’ He also used the phrase ‘had went’ instead of ‘had gone.’
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“The boy was rode in his approached and threaten,” one of his sentences read. This should have read: “the boy was rude in his approach and threatened.”
He committed a grammatical gaffe mixed with ethnic slur against the people of the South-East Nigeria by categorising people he did not know their ethnicity as ‘Biafrans.’
In Al-Hassan’s words, the chairman was “overwhelmed by the mobs, consisting of BIAFRAN boys throwing matches and shape object to his car.” He should have said that his boss was “overwhelmed by the mob, consisting of BIAFRAN boys throwing matches and sharp objects at this car.”
The use of ‘BIAFRAN boys’ is ethically wrong because it is ethnic profiling. It possesses secessionist undertone and conflicts with Nigeria’s Constitution, which recognizes a united Nigerian state.
The full statement as issued by Al-Hassan on Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Press Statement from the Code of Conduct Bureau
Our attention was drawn on a report from some online publication with a video cliff suggesting Hon Chairman, Justice Danladi Y. Umar assaulted a Security Guard at Banex Plaza.
To start with, the said plaza has been his usual place of visits for the past 18 years for shopping and repairs of his phones, and in all these periods there have never been any time he had any turmoil with anybody.
Unfortunately, yesterday’s altercations started over a packing lot, which Chairman met vacant and it was directly opposite a shop he want to make a purchase and to fixe his phone, when the young Security guard sighted him, he ordered that Chairman should not pack his car in that particular empty space, but Chairman asked why, the security guard couldn’t convinced chairman, though Chairman didn’t identify himself, because to him is needless and is a place he visited often, but the boy was rode in his approached and threaten to deal with Chairman if he refuse to leave the scene.
Again, if Chairman had went there to cause trouble or intimidate some one, as suggested in the report, he would have gone there in his full official paraphernalia, but he went there alone with his younger brother.
The Police men seen in the video cliff were not the Chairman’s police team, they were policemen operating around the plaza whom at first instance intervened before the arrival of police team from Maitama Police station. As the few policemen in the complex were apparently overwhelmed by the mobs, consisting of BIAFRAN boys throwing matches and shape object to his car, which led to deep cut and dislocation in one of his finger, causing damage to his car, smashing his windscreen.
At a point he attempted to leave the scene, these same miscreants, BIAFRAN boy ordered for the closure of the gate thereby assaulting him before the arrival of police team from Maitama police station.
An incident like this when it happened, sympathy usually goes to the low personalities. Though is unfortunate as I said, it ought not to have happened.”
Head, Press & Public Relations.
March, 30th 2021.
NBA’s statement as obtained by The ICIR on April 1, 2021
STATEMENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION ON THE ALLEGED CASE OF ASSAULT BY UMAR YAKUBU DANLADI, ESQ.
The attention of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) has been drawn to the video making the rounds where the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (“CCT”) – Danladi Yakubu Umar Esq., was seen, together with his security detail, allegedly assaulting a citizen at Banex Plaza, in Wuse Abuja. We understand that this citizen turned out to be a 22-year-old employee of Jul Reliable Guards Services Limited, posted as a security guard to the Plaza and who is now reportedly hospitalised. The NBA has also read the statement credited to the Head, Press and Public Relations of the CCT in response to the actions of Mr Umar.
The NBA frowns at any display of naked power by a public officer especially one who, by virtue of his high office, is expected to exhibit a high standard of conduct. The situation is all the more critical when it involves the head of an agency of government set up to ensure compliance, by public officers, with the code of conduct.
Further, as a member of the legal profession, Danladi Yakubu Umar Esq. is expected, by the extant rules that regulate the conduct of legal practitioners in Nigeria, to maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and not to engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a member of the legal profession. Prima facie evidence available at the moment raise questions regarding whether such standards have been met.
In view of the foregoing, the NBA shall through its relevant Committee, investigate the circumstances leading to the altercation, and depending on its findings, will ensure that appropriate action is taken to address this occurrence.
Nigerian Bar Association.