CJN says Arrest of Judges Regrettable as Africa Bar Association Condemns Action

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has expressed regret over the manner some Judges were arrested late Friday night and early hours of Saturday by operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), saying the operation was “deeply regrettable.”
Seven Judges including two of the Supreme Court and others from the High Court were arrested over the weekend for alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
Speaking on Monday at a valedictory session for Justice Suleiman Galadima of the Supreme Court in Abuja, Justice Mohammed noted the incident was saddening.
He said: “My lords, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, not to detract from this occasion, it is indeed very saddening and deeply regrettable, the distressing and unfortunate incident which occurred on Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8, 2016.
“However, I must ask all Nigerians to remain calm and prayerful, as emergency meeting of the National Judicial Council, which will take place tomorrow (Tuesday), we will comprehensively look into the matter.
“Furthermore, I must express my sincere appreciation to the executive of the Nigerian Bar Association ably led by the President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), and indeed all members of the legal profession for their prompt action and continued support,” the CJN said.
The arrested Judges by the DSS include John Okoro and Sylvester Nguta of the Supreme Court, Namdi Dimgba and Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabiru Auta, from Kano; Muazu Pindiga in Gombe, and a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Umezulike.
Meanwhile, the African Bar Association says it is shocked about the arrest of the Judges.
President of the association, Hannibal Uwaifo, said that the action of the security agents was a violation of the principles of the rule of law and tenets of separation of power.
“The Association demands the immediate release of all detained Judges and judicial officers, the stoppage of further invasion of their homes under any guise and strict obedience to the rule of law.
“The African Bar believes that these grave violations represent a serious setback for growth and development and will not portray Nigeria and Africa well in the international arena,” Uwaifo said in a statement.
He posited that the association would work with the Nigerian Bar Association to ensure that the violation was quickly and decisively addressed.
He added that although the bar condemned corruption, it would not tolerate the use of “gestapo tactics” or any other extra legal means to address it.

Author: News Editor

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