The Nigerian Bar Association on Thursday rose in defence of two Justices of the Supreme Court who were part of the seven judges arrested by the operatives of the Department of State Service during simultaneous raids on their houses in different
parts of the country over the weekend.
The association described the raid and the arrest as “unconstitutional and clearly outside the mandate of the Service.”
President of the NBA, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Thursday said contrary to the claim by the DSS, the two judges of the apex court, Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro, were never invited and there was no formal complaint against them before their homes were raided.
He said, “We have engaged with the NJC and there was no evidence that has been made available to us that suggests that the two justices of the Supreme Court were ever invited or, if, indeed, there was any complaint by anybody against them.
“This is the information we got from the NJC and we don’t have any reason to doubt it. So, where no complaint has been made either by the DSS or by other citizens before this sort of very drastic measures were taken, we do not see any justification for that.
“The Supreme Court and, indeed, other superior courts in Nigeria are part of the judicial institutions of this country and we cannot denigrate them under the guise that we are fighting corruption.
“We must not destroy the institution or expose it to ridicule or disdain and humiliation both locally and internationally because of the allegations against them.
“But in this case, especially in the case of the two justices of the Supreme Court, we have been informed that there was no formal complaints against any of the two before this action was taken.
“With respect to the other five, we have been informed that at least cases of four of them have been dealt with by the NJC and they are being recommended for various disciplinary measures, both to the President and their various governors; and it is not the responsibility of the NJC to remove them as recommended by the NJC.
“The fifth case was pending before the NJC as of the time of this invasion. So, we do not see reason why this sort of military style approach should be adopted in respect of cases that have already been dealt with and disciplinary measures recommended.”
Mahmoud addressed and fielded questions from journalists after an expanded meeting of the association’s Crisis Management Committee set up by the leadership of the association after the incident.
The DSS had, in what it called a sting operation, arrested Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, both of the Supreme Court; the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Justice Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Others arrested were a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division.
Found at: http://punchng.com/nba-rubbishes-dsss-claims-says-judges-never-invited/
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