Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dino Melaye, Sunday lampooned the Department of State Security (DSS) over its invasion of the homes of judges at the weekend. Melaye took a position on the side of the rule of law noting that although there is need to rid the judiciary of corruption, the approach adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari was wrong and unacceptable.
Melaye, representing Kogi West on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the National Assembly, in a statement he issued in Abuja, condemned the arrest and invasion of the residence of some Judges by the Department of State Services, saying the agency acted outside its core mandate.
According to him, although Judges have no immunity and could be tried, the use of DSS by government was “absolutely wrong and unacceptable.”
He said, “I have studied the Act setting up DSS, Nigerian Intelligence Agency and DIA and can conclude that the DSS operatives went outside their core mandate. There is no doubt that many Judges are corrupt. It is also important to state the need to sanitise the judiciary of corruption that make Judges not to give commercial rulings which create terrible precedence in our legal system. Judges have no immunity and can be tried and should be tried but the use of DSS is absolutely wrong.
“The DSS operatives even when they overstretched themselves and conducted investigations on the Judges. They ought to hand over their findings to the appropriate institutions of government: the Police or National Judicial Council for prosecution and punishment.
“The rule of law is a core value of governance and therefore must be guided jealousy. Prosecution of civil and corruption cases in not the responsibility of DSS. Internal security is the main duty of the DSS and they should stick to that. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Gun-wielding DSS and police operatives had on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday swooped on the residences of senior judges, breaking doors and threatening to harm their family members and aides.
The Judges affected in the raids carried out in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Gombe States
were of the Supreme Court and Federal High Court.
At least two of the Justices were said to have recently ruled against the DSS and condemned its disregard of the laws of the land during its operations.
They arrested Judges are Justice Sylvester Ngwuta (Supreme Court); Justice John Okoro (Supreme Court) and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The DSS also searched the residence of another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, but he was not arrested.