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Nigerian Bar Association Lawyers call for release of arrested judges

The DSS has however issued a statement alleging that the judges are under probe for corrupt cases.

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Abubakar Mahmoud - President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). play

Abubakar Mahmoud - President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

(Nigeria Politics Online)

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has declared a state of emergency following the alleged arrest of some Judges of the Supreme Court in Abuja.

Officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the houses of four  Supreme Court Judges, Justices Walter Onnoghen, Sylvester Ngwuta, Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba on Saturday, October 8, 2016.

On Friday, October 7, 2016, security operatives in Gombe state also arrested Justice Muazu Pindiga, according to Punch.

Speaking at a press conference, the NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) described the DSS action as a bid to intimidate the judiciary.

Mahmoud also constituted a crisis management team made up of former NBA Presidents, to liaise with government on the issue.

He also threatened that there would be serious consequences if the call for the release of the judges is not heeded.

According to Punch, “I want to emphasise again that we are not under military rule and we cannot accept this unholy event and Gestapo-style operation.

“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately caution all the  state security agencies and to respect the rule of law and to respect due process.

“Any issues affecting the judicial officers, there are established procedures for handling them and we demand that this constitutional process must be obeyed.

“Given the unfolding nature of the event and the seriousness of the situation, the NBA hereby declares a state of emergency as it affects the affairs of the judiciary and I hereby constitute a crisis management team, comprising all past presidents of the association.

“I want to, on behalf of the association, make the very following clear and unequivocal demands: we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the judges abducted from about 9pm yesterday (Friday).

“The release must be done immediately and without any conditions. Two, we demand that the Department of State Services should limit itself to its statutory and constitutional responsibilities.

“I’ll be meeting with the CJN later tonight or tomorrow. There will be consequences should these demands are not met.”

The DSS has however issued a statement alleging that the judges are under probe for corruption cases.

The security agency also added that “The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges.”

In River state, Governor Nyesom Wike had to rush to the house of a Federal High Court judge, Justice Mohammed Liman, to stop his alleged arrest by DSS officers.

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