CJN Says DSS’ Actions Regrettable

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  •  Minister snubs Supreme Court
  •  NBA‎ rejects Presidency’s justification, says action unconstitutional

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has appealed for calm over last Friday’s unprecedented arrest of two of his colleagues and other judges of lower cadre.

Mohammed, who broke his silence on this issue on Monday on the occasion of the valedictory session held in honour of a retired Supre‎me Court justice, Justice Suleiman Galadima, said he was saddened by the event.

“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 7 October and Sunday 8 October 2016.

“However, I must urge all Nigerians to remain calm and prayerful, as an emergency meeting of the National Judicial Council will take place tomorrow ‎to comprehensively look into the matter.

“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 professions, for their ‎prompt action and continued support.”

Although it is traditional for the Attorney General of the Federation to attend such valedictory session, the incumbent AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was conspicuously absent. Neither did he send a representative.

Speaking at the event, NBA President insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari should call the security agencies responsible for the arrest of the judges to order.

He said: “We viewed these actions as illegal and unconstitutional and a threat to the independence of the judiciary and must be aimed at intimidating the judiciary and the legal profession.

“This military style operations are totally unacceptable in a democratic society. They are unacceptable against private citizens but even more sore against serving justices of superior courts.”