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DSS invasion of judges’ homes an affront to democracy —HURIWA

By News Express on 09/10/2016

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned without reservations, the nocturnal Gestapo style of the Department of State Services (DSS) invasions of homes of Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and judges of the Federal High Court in Abuja and Port Harcourt Rivers State to abduct the judicial officers including the Justice of the Supreme Court recently recommended for appointment as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The rights group stressed that “Nigeria’s nearly two decades of democratisation may be demolished if operatives and officers of the DSS are not compelled to comply with the due process of the law, respect the constitutional principle of separation of powers and operate within the bounds of law in line with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

HURIWA condemned the threats by those DSS operatives to shoot the Governor of Rivers State from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Nyesom Wike who had intervened in the wee hours of Saturday night to stop the abduction of the Federal High Court Judge in the Port Harcourt division.

HURIWA has also accused the security operatives of possibly executing the plots of hardliners and political hawks in the Hausa/Fulani axis of Northern Nigeria who are not comfortable that the Hausa/Fulani are at the verge of not producing the next Chief Justice of Nigeria in over three decades. The next Chief Justice of Nigeria by merit is Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The rights group expressed alarm that “the skewed policy of President Muhammadu Buhari in appointing mostly Hausa/Fulani top security chiefs may be what is being plotted for the judiciary with the inordinate ambition to set up an Islamic State with the flurry of visits to the President by Islamic leaders from Saudi Arabia or the government may be plotting to set up an authoritarianism in the near -future to scuttle a free and fair 2019 general election.”

National Coordinator of the rights group, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, in a statement said “the international community and all lovers of democracy and the Rule of Law must rise up and defend Nigeria's endangered democracy from the present threats of destabilisation by reactionary forces embedded within the various security forces who are taking direct orders from President Buhari who has clearly demonstrated absolute intolerance to the smooth running of all democratic institutions and has over time disrespected the binding orders of competent courts of law even as most of his top level appointments are in clear breach of the constitutional provisions of Federal Character principles.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this naked show of brute force by operatives of the Department of State Services and we demand that the relevant institutional mechanisms for checks and balances be activated to get to the roots of all these recent affronts and confrontations to democracy. This is so primitive and illegal. This is not how to enforce the law when there are clear provisions of the statutes on how to go about inviting persons required to provide statements to law enforcement authorities.

“If there are petitions against judges the only institution authorised to sanction them after thorough investigation is the National Judicial Council after which further steps could be adopted if further criminal investigation and prosecutions are to take place, it is only then that the police could be invited decently. We are not at war and Mr. President who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces is a democratically elected President and not an emperor.

“Why on Earth will the DSS employ self help by attempting to kidnap the Abuja Federal High Court judge just because he issued a lawful warning to the DSS concerning a pending matter before his court? This is absolutely unlawful and absolutely despicable and reprehensible.  We call on the United Nations and world leaders to intervene to save Nigeria from returning to military or quasi military – dictatorship.”

HURIWA recalled that news reports have it that Operatives of the DSS between late Friday night and the early hours of Saturday simultaneously invaded the houses of two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Walter Onnoghen and Sylvester Ngwuta – as well as two judges of the Federal High Court, Justices Adenike Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba.

Justices Onnoghen, who is the second in rank and the most likely successor to the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, and Justice Ngwuta are neighbours at the Judicial Officers’ Quarters in Abuja, while Justices Ademola and Dimgba live next to each other at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja.

It was learnt that the DSS operatives surrounded the judicial officers’ houses for hours before they eventually broke in at about 1am on Saturday.

 

Source News Express

Posted 09/10/2016 05:16:12 AM

 

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