CORRUPTION | Nigerians pressurize DSS, Seeking Wider Investigation, Arrest Of Judges

Following the allegations of the corruption that the Department of State Services, DSS, said led the gestapo style attacks and subsequent arrest of several senior judges nationwide, Nigerians who in the past questioned the conduct of many judges, but had no way of prompting investigations despite having evidence of wrongdoing, have besieged the DSS with petitions.

According to Premium Times, the development was disclosed by sources within the security agency.

The petitioners accuse the judges of fraud and want the DSS to widen its investigation beyond judges already penciled down for probe and possible prosecution.

“It’s like everyone who has had cause to go to court for one reason or the other has been a victim,” the source said.

Seven judges were taken into custody after the raid conducted simultaneously in six-states, including Abuja.

Supreme Court judges, Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta were arrested in Abuja. Federal High Court judges, Adeniyi Ademola and Mohammed Tsamiya were also arrested in Abuja.

Others arrested included, Kabir Auta, Kano; Muazu Pindiga, Gombe; and Innocent Umezulike in Enugu.

The judges were released on Monday after initial plans to arraigned them stalled for reasons not disclosed by the DSS.

It was however gathered from DSS sources on Wednesday afternoon that the jurists will start facing trial from next week.

The sources said the DSS had dispatched proofs of its allegations against the judges to the National Judicial Council for action.

“We have written the NJC about what has happened and we expect the NJC to take some decisions about the affected judges this week,” a source said. “Once that is done, hopefully by next week or thereabout, we should arraign them in court.”

The NJC is constitutionally charged with the task of investigating and sanctioning erring judges.

The agency hopes that the NJC members, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, will recommend sanctions against the judges based on the evidence of graft tendered against them.

The DSS said it found a large sums of money, denominated in naira and other foreign currencies, from the judges’ homes during the raid.

“The ongoing investigation is not supposed to go beyond this week,” the sources said.

The sources said many Nigerians were supportive of the crackdown by flooding the DSS with damning petitions, with some who had been a victim of abuse of court processes expressing their willingness to testify against the judges.

The sources said the allegations contained fascinating facts that could go a long way in nailing the judges in the court of law.

“More facts are trickling in and we cannot ignore them. It is our statutory responsibility to investigate painstakingly every complaint.

“Some victims have even indicated their readiness to testify in court,” the sources said.

The sources said operatives also uncovered how some of the judges engaged in assets declaration fraud in the course of their investigation.

“The kind of things we observe as regards the forms they submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau is another kettle of fish.

“We discovered a judge filled three different forms with different information either in terms of assets declared or even personal information like age.

“Imagine one judge filling three different forms with different information just to deceive,” the source said.

The clampdown has continued to generate intense debate amongst Nigerians.

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