Sunday 23 October 2016

Senior advocates back Mahmoud, say arrested judges must quit

The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria has backed call by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Abubakar Mahmoud, saying arrested judges had to proceed on leave of absence, pending when they would be given a clean bill of health.

The Body met in Lagos, yesterday, to endorse every action taken by Mahmoud on the matter.

At the meeting were the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. Also in attendance was Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), who met Mahmoud for the first time, since the latter assumed office as NBA President.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman, National Judicial Council, Mahmud Mohammed, however, described cries for the arrested judges to stand down as unnecessary and hasty.

In a statement issued, yesterday, through the Senior Special Assistant to the Chief Justice, H. S. Sa’eed, Mohammed said: “On the call by President of the Nigerian Bar, A. B. Mahmoud, to suspend judicial officers whose residences were invaded and who were subsequently arrested and detained by the DSS, we believe the call was unnecessary and hasty, as the said officers are still being investigated by the DSS.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria also wishes to state in clear terms that the ‘sting’ operations carried out by the DSS on October 7 and 8, was certainly an assault on the independence of the Nigerian judiciary. Nonetheless, the judiciary fully supports the anti-corruption drive of President Buhari.

“The judiciary has never and will never shield any officer who is found to be guilty of corruption. However, the CJN believes that due process and the rule of law must be followed.”

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