The Nigerian Bar Association has lashed out at the State Security Service for raiding the homes of some senior judges across the country.
At a hastily organised press conference in Lagos, Saturday, the apex lawyers’ body demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the two Supreme Court judges allegedly arrested by the SSS during the raid.
“We condemn the raids in the strongest possible terms,” said Abubakar Mahmoud, president of the body.
“We are in a democratic society and we cannot accept a situation where armed, masked SSS operatives invade homes of the justices of the Supreme Court and judges of our high courts.
“This is a ploy by the executive to intimidate the judiciary and we will not accept it. The NBA will not accept it. I want to emphasise again that we’re not under military rule and we cannot accept this Gestapo style of operations.”
An overnight assault on some senior judges in six states by the SSS late Friday and early Saturday resulted in the arrest of some judges.
Officials of the SSS had told Premium Times on Saturday that the operation was ordered after months of investigation, during which the secret police established credibly that the affected judges were involved in questionable financial dealings.
At the NBA’s press conference, attended by four former presidents of the association, Mr. Mahmoud said the SSS should limit itself to its constitutional duties and responsibilities.
“We demand that President Muhammadu Buhari should call his security agencies to order as this kind of practice is not acceptable under a democratic rule,” Mr. Mahmoud said.
“If there are issues affecting judicial officers, there are established processes and procedures for handling them and we demand these constitutional processes must be obeyed.
“I have declared a state of emergency on the legal profession over the matter and I have invited past presidents and secretary generals of the association to follow up on the matter.”