Two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro – were not spared recent onslaught on Nigerian judges across the nation by men of the Department of state service, as they are currently cooling off in custody of the secret police
The two Supreme Court justices were picked from their official residences in Abuja early on Saturday and are currently in the DSS detention camp in Abuja.
Though reasons for the new onslaught on some of the Nigerian judges is unknown, the action was however, carried out at the same time in Abuja, Sokoto, Port Harcourt, Kano, Enugu and Gombe.
But insiders in the judiciary said the crackdown began in Gombe State where the SSS moved against Justice MuazuPindiga, who was a member of the elections tribunal panel in Rivers State.
But speaking to Nigerian Pilot Sunday, media aide to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. AhurakaIsah, confirmed the arrest of Justices Nwgwuta and Okoro but declined reasons why they were arrested.
He said Justice Walter Onnoghen, awaiting CJN and next to current CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, was not among the Justices of the apex court arrested as previously reported.
Isah said, “What I can tell you for now is that Justices Ngwuta and Okoro were arrested early hours of today.
“We do not know the reasons for the arrest yet. Justice Onnoghen was not among those arrested.”
Similarly it was learnt Justice AdeniyiAdemola of the Federal High Court in Abuja was also arrested by the operatives of the DSS after breaking into his official residence at about 1am on Saturday.
The official residence of another judge of the Abuja Federal High Court and a neighbor to Justice Ademola, Justice NnamdiDimgba, was also searched.
Though it was gathered that the security agencies presented search warrants for the raid on Justices Ngwuta, Okoro and Ademola homes, no warrant for the search conducted on Justice Dimgba’s house.
In Rivers State, Governor NyesomWike prevented the SSS from accessing the home of Justice Mohammed Liman of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court.
The officers reportedly stormed the home of the judge at 35 Forces Avenue, Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Governor Wike who explained why he blocked the DSS and police from arresting a judge in his state in Gestapo style, saidthat he would not allow the SSS and other security agencies perpetrate “needless impunity” in the state.
He said if the security agencies had a lawful directive to implement, they must follow due process.
“Not under my watch will I allow this kind of impunity to take place,” the governor was quoted as saying. “That is why we are here. I don’t know which judge they were detailed to abduct. I didn’t bother myself to know which judge. All I am interested in is that, at this level, it is not allowed.”
“He is not a criminal and he is not an armed robber. If the person has committed an offence, invite him. It is only when he refuses to honour the invitation that you can adopt this commando style.”
The Governor said he had been threatened by armed agents who wanted to attack him.
“The Commissioner of Police is here, the Director of DSS is here. Their operatives cocked their guns and threatened to shoot me. I have never seen that before. Again, this is to tell you what we are facing. We know that more will come. For us in this state, we shall continue to resist it,” he said.
Adding he said: “It doesn’t matter what it will cost. When you talk about liberty, sacrifices must be made. We are not trying to stop an arrest. All we are saying is that things must be done decently and in line with the rule of law.
“Rivers State is under siege. For you to see a governor out at this time of the day, something is wrong. A siege is an understatement. If this type of thing happens next time, the people will resist it to the last.”