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    Monday, October 10, 2016

    Mixed Reactions Trail Arrest Of Judges By DSS

    Some Abuja-based lawyers have condemned the arrest and invasion of homes of judges by the Department of State Services (DSS).
    The lawyers spoke in separate interviews in Abuja on Sunday.

    While some decried the invasion of the homes of the judges at night, others described it as a step in the right direction.
    The critics said that the DSS has no right to invade the houses of the judges because the allegations have nothing to do with national security.
    Mr Auta Maisamari said that the constitution provided ways to deal with erring judicial officers.
    According to him, if there is any allegation of professional misconduct it is the duty of the National Judicial Council (NJC).to investigate and discipline such erring judges.
    “When the NJC establishes case against them it is either they are dismissed or forced into retirement and the judicial immunity will have been removed in this regard.

    “I am in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption, but the fight must follow due process.
    Another lawyer, Mr Audu Mammah, said that there were better ways to handle cases of corruption and professional misconduct as alleged by the DSS.
    He said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should have been the one to come into this matter and not the DSS as this has nothing to do with breach of national security.
    “This is very bad for the current leadership of the DSS and does not speak good of the administration at all in this democratic era.
    “Government institution should adhere strictly to their core mandate,
    “DSS has no business in invading the justices’ houses based on the allegations they got because that is not their core mandate,” Mamman said.
    Mr Ikubanni Oluwayomi, said the appropriate and constitutional procedure where any judge was alleged to have committed wrong while sitting as a judge was to petition the NJC.
    He said “NJC is a body recognised by the constitution to investigate such judicial officers and determine the veracity or otherwise of the allegations.
    “If the mode of arrest is wrong, including if arrest was effected by a wrong security agency, it may defeat the interest of justice as we are not in the military era where rule of law may be thrown over board.
    “The houses of the justices were broken into at about 2 a.m. early in the morning, how can a warrant of arrest be executed at 2 a.m,
    “And there is no evidence to show that the justices were first summoned but they refused to obey the summon.

    “The alleged offence among others of the justices is one of corruption and the duties of the DSS does not extend to making of arrest in corruption, ” Oluwayomi said
    But, some female lawyers said that there was nothing wrong in any endeavour to sanitise the sector.
    They explained that if there must be fundamental change in the country, the starting point should be the judiciary.
    Mrs Chinelo Eruchalu said that the rot in the judiciary should be cleansed, adding that it must start from somewhere.
    “In handling this, it must be within the ambit of the law, it is long overdue and I support the move,” she said.
    Eruchalu said that the judiciary had allowed itself to be used by both the politicians and the influential in the society.

    “Our society should be healed from the cancerous sore called corruption, which has eaten deeply into the fabric of our society.
    “What is now going on in the judiciary is a step in the right direction which should be encouraged and supported by all well meaning citizens of this country,” she said.
    Another lawyer, Mrs Jumoke Idowu, who described the sanitisation as a step in the right direction, said the fight against corruption in the judiciary should not be selective.
    “Let this fight against corruption in the judiciary be fought with honesty and sincerity of purpose. Let it not be another vendetta or witch hunt.
    “Everyone involved in corruption must pass through the sword of justice and if found wanting should be treated in accordance with the dictates of the law.
    “This calls for an upright disciplinary mechanism which cannot be easily compromised,” she said.

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