Our attention has been drawn to a publication made on the 17th September, 2015 by CrossRiverWatch, Nairaland and on the Facebook and other online pages of some members of the public on the above subject purportedly written by the class of 1997 (correctly ‘graduating class of 2004’) and against which the names of the undersigned and others are appended as authors.
Though the publication has been removed by CrossRiverWatch and a retraction published by CrossRiverWatch and Calitown, this removal and retraction came after the item had been shared severally by online users thus making nonsense of the ‘damage control’ initiative of the authors and embarrassing in no mean way, the sensibilities and personalities of some members of the class of 2004 who were neither part of nor consulted and never gave their consent for such a publication to be made.
For the avoidance of doubt, we whose names appear hereunder have no business whatsoever with the publication whether made in error or by mischief and will not be part of it even in the future. The use of our names to our bewilderment smacks not only of indiscretion but a high level of professional ineptitude which we cannot be part of. The criminality in using our names in a document without any discussion with us and of cause without our consents is not to be treated lightly by us. Not to mention that some of us have been questioned in our work places on why our names would appear even by error, in such petition in view of the work ethos we are to abide by. More so, friends and professional colleagues have not seized to inundate our lines on the “rightness” or “wrongness” of our involvement in the petition thus requiring us to carry out unending explanations on the subject which testifies to the fact that much damage has been done to our persons already.
Intentionally, and for obvious reasons as would be expected of any fit and proper attorney, we have kept our distance from the ‘class discussion’ on the purported rape incidence in order not to unduly influence thorough and unbiased investigations by the security agencies. Besides, we cannot throw away Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prescribes the presumption of innocence for the accused as an integral aspect of the fundamental right to fair hearing. As such, we see ourselves in no position to do the job of the police or sit in judgment over the suspect on the pedestal and so-called ‘court of public opinion’ which has no value in evidence before a Court of Law. We cannot pre-empt the Court.
The public should be aware that some of the names mentioned in the petition are public servants, politicians, members of the bench and legal practitioners of repute and cannot be seen engaging in such unethical nonchalance.
Finally, as ministers in the temple of justice, who are grounded in the nuances of the fundamental principles of our Criminal Justice System, we cannot in good conscience, rape and/or usurp the powers of the Court to pronounce a mere suspect guilty, when the matter is at best still subjudice. As it pertains to the allegations against Prof. C.Y. Ndifon, only the courts can make a pronouncement on his guilt or otherwise. Until then, we admonish social media crusaders and later day activists to give the law a chance!
1. ADAMADE ODEY SIMON
2. INAKU JOHN FIDELIS
3. CHRIS NJAH MBU OGAR
4. NTUI PANAM
5. URUBULAM DAN
6. TOM ANIEFIOK
7. AKOR INNOCENT ONDALE
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