The chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating allegations of wrongdoing against Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Justice Ayo Salami, today sent out two prominent lawyers who appeared for the embattled former EFCC boss.
The lawyers are Prof Zainab Duke Abiola and Mr Aliyu Lemu. The reason for them being stopped from representing Magu was not however made known.
Sources at the tribunal said trouble started when Mr Wahab Shittu, who has been appearing for Magu, stood up to introduce the two other members of the legal team.
Justice Salami was said to have interrupted Shittu and insisted that only him would be allowed to defend Magu.
The Chairman then asked the security agents to walk the the two other lawyers out of the venue.
Attempts by Shittu and Prof Abiola to explain the sanctity of legal representation for Magu were resisted by Salami and other members of the panel who refused to listen to their explanations.
Reacting to the incident, Prof Duke Abiola expressed disappointment with the conduct of the panel.
Mrs. Abiola said: “What happened today has highlighted the nature and manner the panel of inquiry has been conducting its sittings secretly against the presidential directive and the instrument setting it up, that it should hold a public inquiry. It is unacceptable and patently illegal”.
She further said that she was appalled by the treatment meted out to her, adding that even in the worst days of the Nigerian Military Junta, Nigerians had the right to be represented by lawyers of their choice.