A former member, House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko, has denied involvement in the arrest of Abubakar Marshal, a lawyer to Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore.
The billionaire, in a statement by his lawyer, Bryan Ukaegbu, noted that Marshal was not also arrested by the police in Abuja for filing a matter against him in court.
Earlier, Sowore had claimed that Marshal’s arrest on Friday in Abuja was facilitated by Nwoko.
But the former lawmaker’s lawyer said Marshall stood as surety for Sowore after he was granted an administrative bail with a promise to produce him on February 25 but failed to do so.
The PUNCH had reported that Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, was arrested on February 24, following a petition of criminal defamation, injurious falsehood publication of news known to be false, against him.
His arrest followed a petition by Nwoko, through his lawyers, Trifold Law & Partners, against Sahara Reporters Foundation.
The statement read, “To start from the beginning, Mr Omoyele Sowore was invited by the office of the Inspector General of Police to answer to a Petition written by the Solicitors to Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko, the law firm of TRIFOLD LAW AND PARTNERS.
“The petition bordered on criminal acts of defamation of character, injurious falsehood, criminal intimidation, cyberstalking, etc. against Hon Prince Dr. Ned Munir Nwoko and targeted at rubbing his name in the mud, tarnishing his reputation contrary to extant provisions of the Penal Code and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“As mentioned above and customarily, Mr Sowore was invited by the Nigerian Police Force to give a statement on the claims made in the petition but he refused to honour the invitation. This led to his arrest wherein he still refused to give any statement.
“Apart from his refusal to give a statement regarding the claims against him, under the law, he was to remain in custody until he is either charged to Court or he fulfils the Police Bail conditions.
“Consequently, his lawyer, one Marshal Abubakar chose to stand as surety for bail for Mr Sowore and he, the lawyer assured the Police to produce Mr Sowore on the next date slated for continuation of the investigation. Now on the said date, neither Mr Sowore nor his lawyer, Abubakar were in attendance at the Police Station. They had been at large since then and it became clear that the lawyer was interfering with the investigations of the Police.
“Consequently, it then became very necessary to arrest the lawyer in order to get him to produce his client”.
“With these in full perspective, I put across these posers to-wit: Was the lawyer to Mr Omoyele Sowore right when he stood as a surety on bail for his client? Was the lawyer justified to help his Client escape the Police investigation to become a fugitive or absconder from a lawful arrest?
“The Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners is against Lawyers aiding their clients to disobey the law or duly constituted authorities e.g the Nigeria Police Force (See Rule 3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers that is instructive to the following fact and I quote:
“In his representation of his client, a lawyer shall not —– (a) give service or advice to the client which he knows or ought reasonably to know is capable of causing disloyalty to, or breach of, the law, or bringing disrespect to the holder of a judicial office, or involving corruption of holders of any public.”