More Reactions Trail Judges Arrest

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Mixed reactions have continued to trail the seven judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Federal High Court arrested and released by the Department of State Service (DSS).

An Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Moneka Azubuike, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that DSS usurped the constitutional function of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

According to him, the NJC is empowered to appoint, promote and discipline erring judges, on any professional misconduct.

In his reaction, Mr Sonny Ochaje, a lawyer, said that in a democratic setting, there was an established constitutional procedure to remedy any wrong.

Ochaje said that if the procedures were not duly followed, it would give rise to violation of the constitution and human rights.

He said the arrest of these judges showed that the DSS did not follow the right steps in handing such matters which made this a threat to the judiciary and the constitution.

Mr Iyaji Ogodo, an Abuja-based engineer, and Mr Amos Obasa, a businessman, told NAN that due process was not followed in the crackdown on the judges.

Ogodo stressed that the appropriate body to handle the erring judges was the NJC.

“I am not saying that the DSS should not do their job but due process must be followed, there are procedures in handling cases like this,’’ Obasa opined.

But, Ms Grace Obochi, a consultant in a firm, said that there was nothing wrong in fighting corruption.

Obochi and Mr Cephas Abutu, said that if the arrest was geared toward stamping out corruption, “then it is a right step in the right direction.’’

Abutu, specifically said that corruption must be eradicated from the country because “nobody should be above the law.’’

The DSS in a sting operation on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 arrested seven Justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Federal High Courts for alleged corrupt practices.

The DSS, however, on Sunday released the judges on administrative bail on self-recognition pending their formal arraignment.

The department blamed NJC for the arrest, saying the Council refused its request to investigate them

The Nigerian Bar Association had threatened to boycott the courts of the judges were not released unconditionally.

Also, the NJC is holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday on the issue.


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