The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) came under fire on Monday for calling for President Muhammadu Buhari’s impeachment over the re-arrest of activist-publisher Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services (DSS).
NBA earlier tweeted that the National Assembly should commence impeachment proceedings against the President if the DSS Director-General was not immediately sacked.
The association subsequently deleted the tweet and issued another statement saying the impeachment call was not authorised by the NBA President Paul Usoro (SAN).
But before the tweet was deleted, several Nigerians had re-tweeted it.
President Buhari’s Special Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted a screenshot.
He said: “Good morning @NigBarAssoc. This is the screenshot of the tweet — which has since been deleted, even when it had gotten thousands of retweets — where you called the NASS to commence impeachment proceedings.”
In the tweet, the NBA said: “The DSS is under the direct control of @MBuhari. A responsible @nassnigeria should pass a resolution requesting for the immediate sack of the DSS DG & other agents found culpable. If the President refuses to abide by same, NASS should commence impeachment proceedings. #SoworeInDanger.”
But, NBA later issued a statement saying the impeachment call tweet was unauthorised.
“That publication does not represent the position of the NBA and was not known to, nor mandated by, the NBA President. The Nigerian Bar Association Constitution 2015 (as amended) mandates only the President to speak on behalf of the Association,” the lawyers’ body said in the statement by its National Publicity Secretary Kunle Edun.
NBA added: “We condemned in unmistakable terms the incident and the conduct of the DSS and called for the Department to tender a public apology to the Nigerian people, but we did not, howsoever, personalise the grave issues that arose from the incident.”
However, the NBA’s denial of its impeachment tweet did not go down well some commentators who felt the association has lost its voice and activism.
@frediecruze tweeted in response to NBA: “Gangsters continue to raid courts, harass judges and lawyers while you pat them at the back with mere statements. Time will come when the legal profession will be redundant to an average man.”
@oluwaphymy tweeted: “Then it seems you have willingly surrendered your independence. Perhaps we should all ignore the judiciary and depend on jungle justice.”
@SKefason said: “Liverless NBA…Continue in your cowardice but I assure you the tyranny will consume us all include you NBA.”
@UTwinna tweeted: “The impeachment post was on this very twitter handle yesterday (Sunday). You cannot deny your initial position except you are telling Nigerians that your account was hacked or that your handler twitted in error. #growsomeballs.”
@joederick said: “When an association likes talking before they think… (smiley faces). You should be renamed Social Media Bar Association.”
@onyiforlife tweeted: “NBA is afraid of Buhari….with this kind of situation Nigerians are in trouble. NBA withdrawing the statement against Buhari…Shame on NBA!”
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