President Muhammadu Buhari who returned to Nigeria on Saturday from Germany, has asked the Department of State Services (DSS) not to let up in the quest to rein in more Judges suspected of corruption.
The DSS embarked on an unprecedented midnight raid on the homes of Justices of the Supreme and High Courts a little over a week ago.
Large sums of money were recovered from the homes of the Judges, according to the DSS, in a statement made available to the media in the wake of the raids.
The sums were said to have been proceeds of corruption
An Aso Villa source confided in Pulse over the weekend that Buhari had barely set foot on Nigerian soil when he sent for his legal team and top DSS operatives.
The Commander-In-Chief wanted a full scale briefing on the development.
“The President wanted to be sure that the DSS raids had been conducted within the ambit of the law”, said the source.
“Once that had been established, Buhari asked the DSS to increase the names of Judges on its ‘corruption’ list and to go after them as soon as possible. So, expect more raids in the coming days”, said the source.
Just before midnight on Sunday, Pulse received a statement from the Presidency with respect to the raids.
According to the statement, the legal team within the Presidency had concluded that the DSS raids were in accordance with the extant laws and regulations of the land.
The statement had read in part: “The actions of the DSS in the arrest and search of the premises of judges and justices can be placed firmly within the ambit of the law, sentimental and emotional considerations notwithstanding”.
The presidential legal review added that it was “pertinent to note that Nigeria is not the first country to investigate and prosecute judges that are suspected to have committed acts of crime”.
The Villa source told Pulse: “Once the Presidency’s legal review team submitted its conclusions, Buhari told the DSS to up the ante of raids and go after more Judges alleged to have received bribes in exchange for favourable rulings”.
Moments after the legal review team gave the DSS the all clear, online news portal Sahara Reporters released the names of Judges who have been arrested and those who will have their doors knocked at midnight in the coming days.
According to Sahara Reporters, the Judges named in a confidential list sent to President Muhammadu Buhari includeJustices Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta and John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, Justice Muhammad Ladan Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji of the Court of Appeal, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal high Court, Justice Kabir Auta of the Kano State High Court, Justice Munir Ladan of the Kaduna State High Court, Justice Bashir Sukola of the Kaduna State High Court, and Justice Mu’azu Pindiga of Gombe State High Court.
Other high profile judges named in the confidential memo include Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the current President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba and Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court.
“Those whose homes weren’t raided last week but whose names appeared in the list sent to the President, should expect a DSS visitation soon”, our source said, when probed on the veracity of the list released by Sahara Reporters.
“The President is determined to rid the bench of corruption”,added the source who spoke to Pulse on the basis of anonymity.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have since condemned the raids, accusing the Presidency and DSS of acting outside the bounds of the law.