I have just come online to read the disturbing reports about the rearrest of an Aba-based legal practitioner, Emperor Ogbonna by men of the State Security Services after he was granted bail by the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State.

The reports reaching me suggest that Mr Ogbonna was originally arrested and charged before the Federal High Court on grounds bordering on cyber terrorism relating to a Facebook post from his account on 20 March 2020.

I also understand that he had already spent 35 days at the Correctional Centre in Umuahia, Abia State and was subsequently granted bail which he duly perfected today before his unfortunate rearrest. It is also not clear on what basis or charges Mr Ogbonna was rearrested nor can anyone confirm his current state and wellbeing.

The story is all the more troubling because of the reported involvement of the Chief of Staff to the Abia State Government, Dr A. C. B. Agbazuere who is a legal practitioner and a law lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Abia State University.

I must use this medium to call on the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association to use their good offices to ensure the immediate release of Mr. Ogbonna or at the very least advocate for the respect of his fundamental rights guaranteed by the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

I must also note that the relatively modern trend of disaggregation of charges against defendants simply for the purposes of effecting their rearrest by security agencies after being duly granted bail by courts of competent jurisdiction and perfecting the bail conditions is at best tacky and at worst an unconstitutional affront on the judicial arm of government. At this trying time, this is the last thing that this country needs.


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