From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Operatives of the Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Makurdi, Benue state have allegedly beaten up the State Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barrister Justin Gbagir.
Peoples Daily learnt that the incident took place when the NBA chairman had visited the office to intervene in the release of a member of the NBA in the state, Mrs Aver Shima who was detained by the operatives.
Mrs Shima, a law officer with Benue State Ministry of Justice is assigned to offer official legal services to Benue State Universal Education Board, SUBEB.
However, it was gathered that even though the EFCC had invited Mrs Shima to appear before it on Wednesday, but officials of the Commission detained her when she was in their office on Tuesday when the SUBEB boss appeared before it.
However, in an unsigned statement posted on the platform of the EFCC in the state, the Information Officer Adebayo Adeniran denied the allegations.
Pushed further to sign the statement, he said, “You people should wait and get a formal press release from the EFCC spokesperson in Abuja, Wilson Uwujaren.
In the statement, the Commission vehemently denied that the NBA Chairman was not beaten up.
“I have carried out an investigations into the allegation that the NBA chairman, Makurdi Branch was beaten up.It was not true.
“We are investigating someone for forgery at SUBEB, and we invited her for interview.
“At about 8pm, some people came in large number after close of work led by NBA Chairman protesting that we should release the woman.
“They were advised to leave EFCC premises in other to pave way for dialogue and eventually the said woman was released to the parrmanet secetary ministry of Justice.
“The NBA Chairman was not even around as the time the woman was released and he was never beaten as claimed.
“EFCC Operatives are always civil in carryjng out their official duties.
Following the encounter that ensued at the EFCC office at about 8pm on Tuesday, the NBA chairman was later hospitalised and placed on observation at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Makurdi.
Speaking to newsmen on his hospital bed at the BSUTH on Wednesday, Gbagir said that the EFCC has been hostile to lawyers who accompany their clients to the Commission for fear of being exposed of unwholesome activities of the Zonal office.