The Nation is agape with the fresh news of DSS raids of home of judges, the DSS abduction of Judges in the wee hours of the morning, ungodly hours of the night. The affected judges are Supreme court judges and Federal high Court judges and this act has brought to the fore the question: Is this democracy?
Some of them are Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro, both of the Supreme Court bench, as well as Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
While the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has declared a state of emergency in the judiciary others, especially lawyers have condemned the act of the DSS.
It becomes pertinent to for us all to know the facts as reported by media houses. According to reports from Punch, the DSS raid of Justice Ademola’s house played out like a script.
The judge reportedly locked up himself in his room, on the second floor of the duplex, telling stewards on phone that he had travelled out of Abuja. Armed with a search warrant and the conviction that the judge was inside the house, the DSS reportedly pulled down the door at about 1 am on Saturday.
They also broke an iron door to the living room and made their way upstairs to the judge’s bedroom.
The door to the porch was lying on the ground in front of the judge’s black Sport Utility Vehicle.
The components of the door lock to the living room were also found scattered on the ground. The doors to an empty wardrobe in an unused bedroom downstairs were met open. Dead insects littered the floor of the room which stewards said was not being used.
One of the stewards said,
“We noticed the presence of the security operatives at about 6.30pm on Friday and we immediately called oga (the judge). Oga told us that he had travelled. So at about 8pm, the DSS men jumped the gate into the premises.
“They asked us if oga was around and we told them that we had called him and that he said he was not around. At some point they called me and they said I should call him in their presence. I did but oga insisted that he had travelled. They later made attempts to break into the house. On learning that it would be difficult to break in with their boots, they sent some of their men to fetch equipment. Those ones went and later returned with equipment which they used to remove the door at about past 1 am.
“Throughout the period they carried out the operation, they asked all of us on the premises – stewards and security guards – to stay with them.
“They showed us the search warrant for their operation. They searched every inch of the house and at the end of about four hours, they came out with sums of money in foreign and local currencies, as well as some documents. But I do not know the amount. They took him away at about 5 am this morning (Saturday).”
While Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, a judge of the Federal High Court was not arrested his house was thoroughly searched. Albeit without a search warrant as the DSS were unable to produce a search warrant with his name on it. They had search warrants for Justice Ademola and Justice John Nyang which the flashed at Justice Dimgba who said it was not his name. They apologised for it. Nevertheless, DSS insisted on searching his house, they said that they were instructed to do so.
We speculate here thatthis might be owing to the fact that he is a neighbour to Justice Ademola as their duplexes are separated by a fence at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja. Justice Dimgba occupies 30A, while Justice Ademola lives at 30B. Both houses are on S.O Ogbemudia Crescent, Zone E, Apo Legislative Quarters.
Apart from being separated by a fence, the two judges, had one thing in common, their family members are not living with them in Abuja.
According to reports from Punch in Justice Dimgba’s place, the DSS operatives had no cause to apply force as the judge had let them in without any resistance.
Justice Dimgba complained after the departure of the DSS operatives that they (the security agents) left with a bag containing the drafts of judgments which the judge was meant to deliver next Tuesday.
Details of DSS operations in Justice Okoro and Ngwuta were unobtainable, however it was gathered from Punch that the operation at Okoro’s house lasted till about 9 am on Saturday.Both justices of the Supreme Court were arrested and driven away by security operatives.
We say: As DSS raids homes of Judges Is this democracy ? we thought the National Judicial Council was the body with power to investigate upon a written petition judges and discipline them if found guilty of the allegations.