• Ubon Marcus | July 2, 2021.

The Uyo Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Friday July 2, 2021 allegedly assaulted a Legal Practitioner and Human Rights Advocate, Barr. Ewa Okpo aka street lawyer at their head office located along Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo.

According to the street lawyer, a Bailiff from the State High Court, Itu division, Usen Ntem, was at the EFCC office to serve an Ex Parte Motion of the Court granting bail to his client on grounds of Fundamental Human Rights.

Barr. Ewa Okpo

At the EFCC office, the Court Bailiff was allegedly prevented from exercising his official duties therefore the legal practitioner as an interested party in the case had to go there personally to prevail upon them to honour the order of court and allow the rule of law prevail.

“I have been to that EFCC office over 10 times on this matter and have shown them professional courtesy so far even when my client has been detained for about 10 days as against the statutory 48 hours that the law permits. Nwandu Kalu, Esq,
of the EFCC Legal Department was the one who ordered that I be thrown out of the premises. Messers Taiwo and Gaius witnessed it,” Barr. Ewa said.

“I had to approach the court as a last resort of ensuring that my client gets fair treatment under the law and thankfully Hon. Justice Ntong F. Ntong of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, Itu Judicial Division granted our plea”, he further stated.

“The bailiff who went to serve them the order of court was prevented from doing so; I had to intervene by going there to prevail on them to honour the court order; I was physically assaulted, harassed, pushed out of the office alongside the Bailiff and terribly embarrassed”, the lawyer lamented.

The Uyo based legal practitioner cum human rights advocate expressed worry over the fate that befalls ordinary citizens in the hands of the EFCC nowadays if a legal practitioner of his standing could be so disdainfully treated by the anti-corruption firm stating that the presupposition of the law that an accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law still holds water in Nigeria and law enforcement agencies are under obligation to abide by it.

He called on them to exhibit professional courtesy to legal practitioners and members of other professions in the discharge of their duties and explained that he had notified the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association of his ordeal and intends to seek redress in court.

Efforts to reach the Uyo Zonal Office Spokesperson of the EFCC proved abortive as at press time.