Millions of Nigerians were astounded when the Department of State Security (DSS), while brandishing search and arrest warrants, struck in the early hours of Saturday, October 8, and raided the homes of top judges of the Supreme, Appeal and Federal and State High Courts in some states across the country; arresting seven of them and confiscating cash in foreign and local currencies and allegedly implicating documents; all on the basis of allegations of corruption against the eminent members of the Bench.
Although the DSS has released the arrested judges on bail, the uproar that followed the sting operations – after a seven-month security surveillance process – is yet to abate, with many Nigerians lambasting the security agency for daring to arrest and detain such top judicial personalities, and some calling the action a gross abuse of due process, of rule of law and a display of impunity by the DSS. However, the agency has firmly stood its ground, claiming it was acting on “orders from above” to fight corruption in the judiciary and reduce the scourge to the barest minimum in the country.
However, another group of Nigerians has come out in stout defence of the DSS, insisting that such an exercise was overdue and that some judges have allegedly perverted justice in their rulings and judgments in return for hard cash. This group also asserted that looters of billions of naira of the commonwealth do not follow due process while stealing, and so if any tangible evidence is established against the legal luminaries, they should also be prosecuted and jailed like common criminals. As events unfold in this bizarre scenario, many citizens are watching to see which judge will be jailed or absolved first; of course while following due process…a tough ask
– Abimbola Akosile