The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has reacted to the raid on the houses and arrests of two Justices of the Supreme Court and other judges by the Department of State Services, DSS, labeling the move as Deplorable.
Over the weekend, the DSS had raided and arrested the homes of Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, both of the Supreme Court; the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Justice Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Other arrested were a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike, and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division.
Reacting to this at the valedictory court session held in honour of a retiring Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima, the outgoing CJN disclosed that the National Judicial Council would meet on Tuesday to take a position on the incident, even as he commended the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, for weighing in on the matter.
He said at the event which held at the ceremonial courtroom of the Supreme Court, “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), 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,” Mohammed said.
The Presidency had, before now, stated that the DSS followed due process before embarking on the raid, which the Service called string operations, on the residence of the judges.