Corruption: Tainted Judges back at work

Two judges of the Federal High Court in Abuja, whose residences were, last week, raided by operatives of the Department of State Security  Service (DSS), over allegation of corruption, on Monday, resumed sitting over cases filed before them for adjudication.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola sat over 11 cases on Monday, while his brother judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, sat over one case in his court too.

Among the cases Ademola attended to yesterday were two suits filed against the DSS by two individuals currently being held by the Service.

The first was the suit No.: CS/518/2016 filed by Olusegun Komolafe against Director General of the DSS and another; and the second one marked: CS/498/2016 filed by Engr Chidiebere Onwudiwe v. SSS.

The DSS did not attend proceedings and was not represented and Justice Ademola ordered that  hearing notices be served on the DSS before the next date.

The suit heard by Justice Dimgba was filed by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Olusegun Abraham.

In Abraham’s suit, Justice Dimgba ordered the service of court documents, in relation to the case, on APC’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and the party’s purported governorship candidate, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu through substituted means.

The judge’s order was informed by application by plaintiff’s lawyer, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George, in which he complained of his client’s inability to effect personal service on the two defendants.

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He said service had been effected on the other two defendants – APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Abraham’s suit is, among others, challenging the competence of the last APC’s governorship primary election in Ondo State held on September 3 this year.

It will be recalled that Justice Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court; Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabir Auta of the Kano High Court; Muazu Pindiga of Gombe High Court, Mohammed Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal in Ilorin, and the Chief Judge of Enugu State, I. A. Umezulike-  have been arrested, detained for some days and granted bail on self recognition by the DSS over alleged corruption and accusation of receiving bribe.

The two Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices Okoro and Ngwuta, the Nigerian Tribune gathered, were not on the panel that sat at the apex court on Monday.

While Justice Ademola and six other judges were arrested after the raids, Dimgba was not arrested by the service.

The DSS said it arrested the seven judges across the nation after petitions bordering on allegations of fraud made against them were  neglected by the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC), which had the mandate to sanction erring judicial officers.

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DSS said it recovered huge sums of money, in both local and foreign currencies, believed to be the alleged bribe  from the houses of the judges raided.

In his reaction to the DSS allegations,  Justice Adeniyi said he was being punished for the rulings he had delivered in favour of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (retd) and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, against the wish of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

NJC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said the action of the DSS was a clear attempt to humiliate, intimidate, denigrate and cow the judiciary.

The AGF, in his reaction, said the justices arrested were not above the law, saying  the DSS was merely discharging its constitutional function of investigation and that the judges accusing him of vendetta should go to court to prove their claims.

While the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) faulted the raid of the houses of the eminent members of the Bench, lawyers were divergent in their views.

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