- Justice Liman laments damage to reputation
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has said the raid on the homes of judges and their arrests by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) were in order and within the mandate of the National Security Agencies (NSA) Act.
The agency also disclosed that it had supplied the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (OAGF) with copies of the asset declaration forms of the affected judges at the behest of the AGF.
The Chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, said these wednesday, in his submission to the House of Representatives committee investigating cases of property invasion and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS, since May 29, 2015.
The hearing was informed to a motion on the October 7-8, 2016 raid on the home of judges, and their arrests by the DSS, which raised concerns as to whether the agency acted within the confines of its mandates in line with the NSA Act.
Saba said the AGF, in several letters, had requested for copies of asset declaration forms of several Nigerians.
“The requests were made in batches, some of them as far back as January, while some were as recent as two weeks ago.
He was however not specific as to the dates of the letters requesting the declaration forms of the affected judges.
“I was on leave when the letters came, but I was contacted and gave approval for the releases,” he said.
Saba’s position before the adhoc committee chaired by Hon. Mohammed Garba Datti (Kaduna APC), is that stealing and corruption constitute threats to the internal security of the country.
A mild drama occurred when Saba declined to supply the committee with copi
Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers PDP) had requested that Saba submit the copies.
“Why don’t you ask the AGF for it? It is privileged information” Saba retorted.
Hon. Edward Pwajok (Plateau PDP) however drew attention to Section 89 (1) of the Constitution which allows the National Assembly to requests for any documents in futherance of its investigations.
The Committee Chairman intervened as it looked like an imminent exchange of words, ruling that Saba submits the copies of the letters by 10am on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Justice Mohammed Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, in his submission lamented that his name had been denigrated and smeared in the scandal.
He disclosed that his No.33 home in Port Harcourt, was never searched, nor any attempt made by the DSS to enter it. Rather, the SSS officers attempted to enter the home of his neighbour and colleague, Justice Uche Agomoh, a move thwarted by the arrival of Governor Nyesom Wike, Liman said.
“It was therefore shocking and frightening when the SSS released an official statement claiming to have attempted to search the house of an unnamed judge, but the judge when approached, resisted and mobilised thugs, and with the assistance of Governor Nyesom Wike, and the tacit support of a sister security organisation, removed $2 million which was stashed in his house to an unknown place,” he said.
Liman said an unending cascade of misinformation was triggered when the media set the tone of the narrative and identified him to be the unknown judge.
He added that he never received any invitation from the DSS, nor has he been queried in relation to the allegations against the judges.
“I feel pained by this frightening event, especially the denigration of my reputation that followed the unending negative publications aimed at socially and professionally destroying me completely,” Liman told the committee.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in his submission insisted that the DSS acted outside its mandate, particularly with the manner of operation.
He was represented at the hearing by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Emmanuel Aguma.
“…Nigerian Machavellian fixation that the end justifies the means, but the means justifies the end, it is the method that we are saying was not within the ambits of the law. Nobody is out to defend rogue judges, but things must be done in accordance with the law,” he said.
The committee adjourned to Thursday.Those expected to appear include the Director General of the SSS, Colonel Lawal Daura, the AGF, Mr. Abubakar, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, his Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.