Operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, conducted a simultaneous raid on the homes of two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Walter Onnoghen and Sylvester Ngwuta – as well as two judges of the Federal High Court, Justices Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba.
The raid was said to have taken place between late Friday night and the early hours of Saturday.
The operatives also went after a Judge in Rivers state as the chase continued.
The arrested judges are set to be arraigned for corruption after huge sums of money in foreign currencies were discovered at their homes, reports Naij.
According to reports, some of the arrests were linked to Governor Nyesom Wike while a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were also indicted.
Justices Onnoghen, who is the second in rank and the most likely successor to the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, and Justice Ngwuta are neighbours at the Judicial Officers’ Quarters in Abuja, while Justices Ademola and Dimgba live next to each other at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja.
Punch newspaper reported that the DSS operatives surrounded the judicial officers’ houses for hours before they eventually broke in at about 1am on Saturday.
After searching the houses, the security agents eventually took Justice Ademola away at about 5am on Saturday.
The DSS operatives allegedly beat up Justice Dimgba’s brother during the operation.
One of the judges, Judge Sylvester Ngwuta travelled to Qatar to receive a bribe which he shared with other judges, to ensure that Governor Wike won his election case which was heard by the Supreme Court.
Reports say that lawyers serving under the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) declared a state of emergency in the judiciary after the continued raiding of judges homes by armed DSS operatives.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose has lambasted the invasion of residences of five judges by the DSS security forces.
Fayose labelled the invasion as an attack on the judiciary, saying that it was now clear to all that the country’s democracy was increasingly under threat by the Buhari administration.
Addressing journalists on Saturday in Ado Ekiti, Fayose, said “It should now be obvious to all Nigerians and the international community that democracy is under threat in Nigeria and Nigerians must rise to save democracy from being truncated.
“For all intent and purposes, there is no how the Federal Government can justify the gestapo and crude action of the DSS against our judiciary, the last hope of the common man and I believe they just want to hide under anti-corruption fight to blackmail and intimidate the judiciary. If not, have the affected judges been reported to the National Judicial Council, the body saddled with the responsibilities of investigating and sanctioning erring judges?
“Were the affected judges ever invited by the DSS and they refused to honour the invitation?
President of the association, Abubakar Mahmoud said that the arrest of the judges was a clear abuse of power by the DSS operatives, who assaulted and tried to abduct judges in states across the country.
But a senior officer of the security agency, Mr. Abdullahi Garba, who spoke with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, insisted that the action would be sustained.
He said that the operations were based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected judges.
Garba said, “The action is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.
“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched. The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these judges.”
Meanwhile, he said large amount including foreign/local currencies had been recovered.
He gave the summaries of these to include:
N93,558,000.00, $530,087, £25,970 and €5,680 (euro).
He said other foreign currencies were also recovered, but didn’t give details.
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