The Nigerian Bar Association on Saturday kicked against the arrest and raiding of homes of judges across the country by operatives of Department of State Services (DSS).
The body at press conference in Lagos, Saturday, condemned the DSS action and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the two Supreme Court judges reportedly arrested during the raid.
“We condemn the raids in the strongest possible terms,” said Abubakar Mahmoud, president of the body.
The NBA said Nigeria is a democratic society and that a situation where armed and masked DSS operatives invade homes of the justices of the Supreme Court and judges of Nigerian High courts, is unacceptable.
“This is a ploy by the executive to intimidate the judiciary and we will not accept it. The NBA will not accept it. I want to emphasise again that we’re not under military rule and we cannot accept this Gestapo style of operations.”
The press conference, which had in attendance four former leaders of the body, had the NBA President asking the DSS to confine itself to its constitutionally assigned role.
“We demand that President Muhammadu Buhari should call his security agencies to order as this kind of practice is not acceptable under a democratic rule,” Mahmoud said.
“If there are issues affecting judicial officers, there are established processes and procedures for handling them and we demand these constitutional processes must be obeyed.
“I have declared a state of emergency on the legal profession over the matter and I have invited past presidents and secretary generals of the association to follow up on the matter”.
The DSS in the late hours of Friday and early Saturday morning raided the homes of Supreme Court and High Court judges in six states and the Federal Capital Territory, arresting five including two Supreme Court judges in the process.
Amid national outcry, the DSS explained it took the action after receiving allegations of graft and other professional misconduct on the part of the judges.