Lawyer Sues Buhari, Others over Arrest of Judges



A LAWYER based in Lagos has filed a N50bn suit against President Muhammadu Buhari, the Department of State Services, DSS, and Lawal Daura, its director-general, along with others for allegedly violating the rights of judges whose houses were raided by the DSS operatives between October 7 and 8.

In a suit filed by Olukoya Ogungbeje, others joined as defendants ABubakar Malami, SAN, attorney general of the federation and minister of Justice; Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of Police and the National Judicial Council.

According to the suit file on Friday, October 14, Ogungbeje alleged that the arrest of the judges without recourse to the NJC was unlawful and amounted to humiliating them.

He said the DSS operations violated the rights of judges under sections 33, 34, 35, 36 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.

The plaintiff sought 10 prayers, among which is an order awarding N50bn against the defendants as “general and exemplary damages.” He also would want to be paid N2m as the cost of the suit.

Ogungbeje similarly sought an order compelling the DSS to return to the judges the sums of money reportedly recovered from them, and that a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from arresting, inviting, intimidating or harassing the judges should be imposed with respect to the case.

The DSS had, between Friday and Saturday, October 7 and 8, arrested Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro of the Supreme Court; Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the federal high court, Abuja, and Justice Muazu Pindiga of the federal high court, Gombe Division.

Also arrested are Justice I. A. Umezulike, a former chief judge of Enugu State; Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, and Justice Kabiru Auta, judge of the Kano State High Court.

However, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba’s residence was also searched but he was not arrested.

The DSS said it recovered large sums of money in Nigerian and foreign currencies from three of the judges during the raids on the houses of the seven judiciary officers.

All the seven of judges had since been released on self recognition by the DSS.

In any case, Ogungbeje’s suit is restricted to five of the arrested judges, who are still in active service – Ngwuta, Okoro, Ademola, Pindiga and Dimgba.

— Oct 17, 2016 @ 16:58 GMT


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