A coalition of civil society groups on Thursday called on the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee to strip the Spokesperson for the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Festus Keyamo, of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title.
The group said that its demand is predicated on his role in the detention of Mr Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians.
The groups, which also called for the withdrawal of Keyamo’s licence to practice law in Nigeria, alleged that Keyamo, who is Adeyanju’s lawyer, might be involved in the circumstances around his detention.
They added that Keyamo’s silence in the matter, at the expense of the continued violation of the rights of a person he once represented, fuels concerns that he may have played a key role in the design and execution of the plot to keep Adeyanju in detention.
The groups stated this in a jointly signed statement in Abuja. They are, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution led by Ariyo-Dare Atoye; Free Nigeria Movement led by Adebayo Raphael, and MadConnect led by Moses Paul.
They said: “It is also important to note that during the course of his trial in 2009, Mr. Adeyanju was represented by Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, who is currently the spokesperson for the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. This fact is important in the light of Mr. Adeyanju’s criticism of the Buhari administration over the last three years which had resulted in several arrests and detentions.
“It is instructive to note that Mr. Keyamo now works for the Buhari presidency which by all indications wants Mr Adeyanju out of circulation before, during and immediately after the 2019 general election for obvious reasons.
“Mr. Keyamo’s stoic silence is the matter, at the expense of the continued violation of the rights of a person he once represented, therefore fuels concerns in the thoughts of many Nigerians that he may have played a key role in the design and execution of the plot to keep Mr. Adeyanju out of circulation in order to protect their interests of President Buhari and his campaign.
“It is nearly impossible to escape this conclusion, seeing as a person of Mr. Keyamo’s standing in society and antecedents – especially as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who should have been at the forefront of demands for Mr. Adeyanju’s release knowing the facts of his acquittal in that matter, has chosen to remain silent. It is nearly impossible to resist the conclusion that Mr. Keyamo may have chosen to sacrifice his professional ethics on the altar of regime protection and at the expense of justice.
“We reiterate our calls for Mr. Adeyanju’s unconditional release seeing as the allegations for which he is currently detained has been heard to a conclusion by a court of competent jurisdiction resulting in his discharge and acquittal.
“It is obvious that Mr. Keyamo indeed has questions to answer on issues related to the illegal arrest and detention of Mr. Adeyanju. We, therefore, call on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to conduct investigations into the circumstance surrounding Mr. Keyamo’s involvement in Mr. Adeyanju’s illegal detention.
“We also call on the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee respectively to withdraw the rank of SAN conferred on Mr. Keyamo as well as his licence to practice law in Nigeria.”
They lamented that yesterday marks the 48th day since the Nigerian Police Force, under the leadership of the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, illegally arrested and detained Adeyanju.