The arrest of two judges on Friday by operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) has confirmed an exclusive report by Nigerian Times that the Buhari administration is planning a major crackdown on judges in the country.
America based online newspaper, Saharareporters Friday reported that a team of operatives of the DSS surrounded the homes of two Nigerian federal judges Nnamdi Dimgba and Adebiyi Ademola. The judges reside at 32 and 34 Samuel Ogbemudia Cresent in the Apo Legislative Quarters of Abuja.
According to the report, the invading officers arrived and surrounded Justice Dimgba’s home around 9PM Nigerian time, according to sources speaking to SaharaReporters. Shortly after the siege, neighbors of the judge told SaharaReporters that the DSS agents began breaking into his compound with a sledgehammer.
Justice Dimgba was reportedly not at home at the time of the invasion. However, a source said DSS had been uncomfortable with recent rulings by the judge and because of his vocal criticism of DSS for violating rights of persons detained at its facility.
Another source revealed that they believed Mr. Dimgba was being targeted unfairly by DSS as a form of punishment. On July 22nd, 2016 he berated DSS for not presenting Air Commodore Umar Mohammed to his court for a scheduled hearing.
Before the action at the homes of the two judges DSS operatives had arrested Justice Muazu Pindiga, former Chairman of the Rivers State Governorship petition tribunal on allegations of bribery and corruption.
Friday’s action by the DSS confirms an exclusive report by Nigerian Times on September 25, that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had perfected plans to crack down on judges.
The report noted that the decision was taken at a meeting of September 9, 2016, which had in attendance, Mallam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Lawal Daura, Director General of the SSS and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno. The meeting had held at the instance of the president.
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BUHARI SET TO CLAMPDOWN ON JUDGES
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has concluded plans to dismiss judges it deems corrupt, Nigerian Times has learnt. Multiple sources at a not-to-be-reported meeting senior administration officials held with managing directors of media houses at the Banquet Hall of the Aso Villa confirmed the story to this newspaper.
The meeting, which held on Friday 9th of September, had Mallam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff, Daura Lawal, Director General of the SSS and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno in attendance. Indeed, the meeting was at the instance of the the president but he had to withdraw from attending the meeting when saharareporters.com reported a few days to the meeting that the regime was inviting media executives to Abuja to bribe them.
The meeting started off quite well with a genial appeal by the officials for the support of media houses for the administrations policies and programmes. However, the meeting soon got to the questions/advice item at which a point a guest stood up to the upbraid the regime’s refusal to heed court judgements it deemed unfavourable : “ This administration seems to have brought back impunity as a tool of denying Nigerians their civil rights. How can a court grant people bail and the government would flagrantly disobey court orders?”, he wondered.
Munguno, the NSA, responded and his response left no one in doubt as to the regime’s game plan. He first asked the questioner which media house he represented. It turned out to be The Nation Newspapers, owned by former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu. He sighed audibly and then began: “Impunity ! Impunity! Impunity! This government has no record of disobeying court orders. In the few cases where we have done so, it is because we have credible evidence that the judgements were procured by the accused”.
Continuing:“ You all will soon see the number of judges we have investigated and have found to be corrupt. We shall soon start putting them in handcuffs. They are many but no amount of blackmail will stop us”. At which point a chill descended on the meeting.
The Buhari administration has found the trials of certain detainees quite challenging. Amongst whom are, Sambo Dasuki, former NSA, Daniel Kanu of IPOB and El- Zakzaky, leader of the Shiite movement in Nigeria whose members had a bloody confrontation with the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai. And though the president himself had pointedly accused the judiciary of corruption none has been brought to trial.