The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, lawyers and some human rights groups have strongly kicked against the recent invasion of the homes of judges and the arrest of over four of them by the Department of State Services.
According to them, the actions of the DSS showed that Nigeria had returned to the harsh military era, including the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari in 1984.
DSS and police operatives had on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday raided the residences of senior judges, and disclosed the discovery of huge amounts of raw cash which are to be used as evidence against the judges when arraigned.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, while reacting to the development however said, “It is executive lawlessness and usurpation of investigative functions of the judicial arm of government. It was not done with the authority of the National Judicial Council as stipulated in our constitution.
“We are certainly descending into a deeper dictatorship trajectory than we have ever witnessed in our polity even during military interregnum.
“If judges can come under this raw show of naked power, what would be the fate of the everyday citizens? This is a new low never witnessed in our country and all lovers of justice, democracy and decency must condemn this barbaric act.”
Also, a lawyer and President of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Malachy Ugwummadu, said it was a “misadventure too many and will be decisively resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians.”
He stated, “If left unchecked, they will invade the hallowed precincts of our courts and desecrate them even during sittings. President Buhari must therefore rise to the occasion and call for a full briefing into the circumstances of this breach of public peace, and obstruction of public officers in the discharge of their duties.”
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Adegboyega Awomolo, described the invasion as the height of corruption.
Awomolo said, “Let the good people of the world note that this is a move to demystify, denigrate and ridicule the judiciary after humiliating the legislature.
“What the executive is doing is not fighting corruption but promoting recklessness and impunity. Supreme Court justices are not absconding criminals to be harassed, attacked and whisked away in the night. This is barbaric and unacceptable.”