FG Probing Invasion of Court by DSS, Says AGF

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Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, on Wednesday revealed that the federal government had put machinery in place to investigate the invasion of the a Federal High Court, Abuja by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS).

Speaking to journalists shortly after a short visit to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, the AGF, who expressed worry over the incidence, however declined to comment further on the action of the security operatives.

The DSS had last week Friday invaded a courtroom in Abuja in its bid to rearrest Omoyele Sowore over undisclosed offence.

The security operatives had swooped on Sowore just as he was stepping out of the court after his case was adjourned till February 11 next year.

However efforts by the DSS to immediately seize him was unsuccessful as Sowore with the aid of some of his supporters managed to run back into the courtroom where he took refuge for nearly an hour before a truce was reached between his lawyer and the DSS.

The action of the DSS was widely condemned both within and outside the country as it was seen as a desecration of the temple of justice and flagrant disobedience of court orders and the rule of law.

Responding to questions from journalists, Malami said although the incident was worrisome he would however wait for the outcome of investigation into the incident

“It is worrisome for us but I cannot be preemptive of an incident that I was not a live witness, the government has put in place mechanism to investigate the reported incident and I would not want to preempt in terms of concluding, one way or the other without allowing the conclusion and consummation of the investigation process”, he said.

The AGF however assured that the government remained committed to the rule of law and sanctity of the courts.

Malami said aside the case of Sowore, there were a number of serious cases the federal government had interest but will observe the rule of law in pursuing those cases.

He said the visit to the CJ was to congratulate him as the substantive Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

According to him, it is traditional of the AGF to pay a visit to a new CJ and assure him of the support of the government.

“To reassure his lordship of our commitment as a government. We want to congratulate him, having been appointed, having been approved we want to assure him of our allegiance to the institution of the judiciary as well.

“As a government we have established a tradition of respect for the rule of law, we have established a tradition of interest in the independence of the judiciary”.

He cited recent efforts by the federal government to ensure independence of the judiciary at the states level.

Following recommendation of the National Judicial Council, President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated Justice Tsoho as substantive Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

His nomination was recently confirmed by the Senate.