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Public Statement: Nigeria (February 2019)

The Law Society of Ontario expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Adeola Adebayo
 
Toronto, ON — The Law Society of Ontario expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Adeola Adebayo.
 
Adeola Adebayo was a lawyer and the Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ikole-Ekiti branch who was kidnapped and murdered in late 2018. Credible reports suggest that his death is a result of his work as a lawyer and his membership in the Nigerian Bar Association as well as the pervasive state of insecurity and violent crime in the region.
 
Credible reports state that during the weekend of November 17 and 18, 2018, Adeola Adebayo was abducted, along with nine other people, by several armed men at the Iwaraja-Efon axis of Ekiti state. The other victims were eventually released and Adeola Adebayo continued to be held by the captors. A ransom was allegedly paid for his release, but following payment, Mr. Adebayo was shot and killed by the abductors. His body was discovered on or about December 2, 2018.
 
The Law Society is seriously concerned by credible reports of Adeola Adebayo’s death and strongly condemns the murder of Mr. Adebayo. We urge Nigeria to comply with its obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
Article 16 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states:
 
Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economics or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.
 
Article 17 states:
 
Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.
 
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
 
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
 
The Law Society urges the Government of Nigeria to:

  1. immediately conduct a fair, impartial and independent investigation into the murder of Adeola Adebayo in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply to them civil, penal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

  2. put an end to all acts of violence against lawyers and members of the Nigerian Bar Association in Nigeria;

  3. ensure that all lawyers in Nigeria are adequately safeguarded by the authorities such that they are able to carry out their professional duties and activities free from intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference, the threat of criminalization or other human rights violations; and

  4. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.