Judges Arrest: DSS writes NJC
- Says some judges ‘ll face trial both in regular court and CCT
The Department of State Service (DSS) has written the National Judicial Council (NJC) to brief it on the outcome of its last weekend raiding of some judges’ home in some states of the federation, their subsequent arrest and investigation.
A very top and reliable source at the DSS said the letter had already been acknowledged by the NJC, adding that its details were presently being debated upon by the Council.
He said the letter specifically gave the NJC a bird’s eye view of the nature of proof of evidence in its possession to move against the judge in law court.
The source said that the intention of the letter was to allow the NJC to take measures against the judges in the interim so that they would not be arraigned as serving judges which could cause embarrassment to the judiciary.
He said ordinarily, the DSS was almost done with its investigation and was good to go to court but that it was necessary it carried the NJC along so that it would not appear as if the on-going fight against corruption in the judiciary was targeted against the judiciary.
He said given the fact that the week is far gone, the arraignment might not be earlier than next week or thereabouts.
He stated, “The on-going investigation is not supposed to go beyond this week. We have written to the NJC about what has happened and we expect the NJC to take some decisions about the affected judges this week.
“Once that is done, hopefully by next week or thereabouts, we should arraign them in court. For now, more facts in the form of petitions are trickling in about the judges.”
He further stated that it was its statutory responsibility to investigate painstakingly every complaint against the judges, adding that some victims had even indicated their readiness to testify in court.
Giving hints on the details in the DSS’ proof of evidence, the source also said the DSS might file information against the judges before a regular high court of competent jurisdiction and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
He hinted that some of them were economical with the truth in the disclosure of information about their ages and assets.
“We discovered a judge filling three different forms with different information either in terms of assets declared or even personal information like age.
“ Imagine one judge filling three different forms with different information just to deceive. Just as I said, we will do a thorough job.’’
It was also gathered that the DSS had asked all the affected judges to be reporting at its headquarters, otherwise known as ‘Yellow House’ every day.
Meanwhile, a group of protesters, under the aegis of Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Coalition, stormed the premises of the Federal High Court on Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi, on Wednesday, demanding the prosecution of the seven judges arrested over the weekend for alleged corruption.
Speaking through their leader, Desmond Abiona, the protesters expressed their solidarity with the DSS for arresting the judges and condemned those who termed the DSS action as an attack on the judiciary.
Abiona alleged that the arrested judges had already sponsored a group of protesters to march against the DSS and launch cyberspace war, calling on the public to watch out for them.
He stated that the DSS had exposed the endemic rot in the judiciary, which had eroded the gains of Nigeria’s democracy.
Abiona said he and his colleagues were disappointed that members of the public, who were victims of corruption, were still being fooled to believe that the action of the DSS was an attack on the judiciary.