I read with great amazement and total disbelief, the news of the invasion of the homes of judges in Port Harcourt and in Abuja, by the executive arm of government through the Department of State Security Services, DSS.
I’m one particular case, it was said that sledge hammers were used to breakdown the wall of the home of a judge, with his domestic servants wickedly brutalised.
This is full blown dictatorship now in action. It is now a case of anarchists in power.
The clampdown on judges has been on for a long time, through agents of government in the various institutions of oppression. We are now back to the 1984 jackboot system of intolerance, where all dissenting views and opinions must be silenced.
It is condemnable for the DSS, which is an arm of the executive, to be breathing down on the judicial arm of government, under the guise of fighting corruption.
It is now clear without any shadow of doubt that the so called anti-corruption war, is a hidden agenda to perpetuate the General Muhammadu Buhari regime in office beyond 2019. It is meant to silence the opposition and to cover the inefficiency and cluelessness of this administration.
The 1999 Constitution in sections 4, 5 and 6 prescribes the system of separation of powers between the three arms of government.
But since 2015 when this government was sworn in, the executive arm under General Buhari has dominated and brutalized the other two arms of government. The leadership of the National Assembly is under trial and it is now the turn of the judiciary.
In a democracy, the rule of law prescribes the independence of the judiciary, whereby judges must be allowed the unfettered right of taking decision according to law and according to their consciences.
It is in this regard that the mindless invasion of the homes of judges by the DSS is totally condemnable. It should never happen that the executive is indirectly threatening and intimidating members of the third estate of the realm.
The judiciary is the arm that stabilizes democracy and should not be exposed to ridicule or opprobrium in the manner that the DSS is currently doing.
I believe that the hidden motive of all these is traceable to the power tussle between leaders of the ruling party and in the. Ominu days of lawlessness that will be unleashed by those who are in power, it has become necessary to capture the judiciary, to whom the victims of this power tussle will likely turn.
Any fight against corruption must be done under the rule of law and there is no law that authorizes the invasion of the home of a judge at an unholy hour of 1am. Being public officers, there is no way these judicial officers would have absconded or run away from normal arrest during the day, if need be. This is the height of executive lawlessness and crass intolerance.
We do not advocate that those alleged to be corrupt should not face their due trial, but that should be done in an atmosphere of dignity and respect for the fundamental rights of the suspects.
This is dangerous and condemnable since we are not under a military rule.
Boycott of the Courts
As judges have no voices to speak officially, I call on the Nigerian Bar Association to declare an indefinite strike so that all courts of law in Nigeria will be boycotted until there is respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, commencing from Monday, October 10, 2016, until further notice.
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa is a leading human rights lawyer and activist. He is also a clergy with the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.
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