Judiciary Is Not Under Attack, Corruption Is – Presidency

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THE presidency has denied that the arrest of some judges by the Department of State Security, DSS, was an attack on the judiciary. Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, made the clarification in a statement, describing the raids on the judges’ residences as ‘surgical’ saying due process was followed in the arrests. “The Presidency has received assurances from the DSS that all due processes of the law, including the possession of search and arrest warrants were obtained before the searches,” Shehu said.

He insisted that there was clamp down on the judiciary but a clamp down on corruption. Besides, he assured that the president would not do anything to undermine the independence of the judiciary in any way. “President Buhari remains a committed democrat, in words and in his action, and will not take any action in violation of the constitution. The recent surgical operation against some judicial officers is specifically targeted at corruption and not at the judiciary as an institution. The recent surgical operation against some judicial officers is specifically targeted at corruption and not at the judiciary as an institution. In a robust democracy such as ours, there is bound to be a plurality of opinions on any given issue, but there is a convergence of views that the country has a corruption problem that needs to be corrected. But reports by a section of the media are giving us cause for concern.

“In a robust democracy such as ours, there is bound to be a plurality of opinions on any given issue, but there is a convergence of views that the country has a corruption problem that needs to be corrected. But reports by a section of the media are giving us cause for concern. In undertaking the task of reporting, the media should be careful about the fault lines they open. It is wrong to present this incident as a confrontation between the executive and judicial arms of government. The Presidency has received assurances from the DSS that all due processes of the law, including the possession of search and arrest warrants were obtained before the searches. To suggest that the government is acting outside the law in a dictatorial manner is to breach the interest,” Shehu said.

The raid on the judges was carried out in the early hours of Saturday, October 8, in some parts of the country. Seven judges, including two of the Supreme Court, were arrested in the raids, which has been condemned by lawyers and rights groups.

The two Supreme Court judges are Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro. They are currently in the custody of the DSS and would be arraigned in court today, Monday, October 10.

The arrest of the judges followed a petition that they allegedly received bribes from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. It was learnt that the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC, had knowledge of the DSS action.

—  Oct 10, 2016 @ 15:32 GMT

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