Ganiyat Ganiyu

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Thursday, October 20, called for the suspension of seven judges arrested by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) on October 8.

The President of the NBA, Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), made the call at a valedictory court session in honour of a retiring Justice of the Court of Appeal, Sotonye Denton-West.

Seven judges in five states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory were arrested after their homes were raided on October 7 by the DSS following allegations of corruption.

He said it is pertinent for all the judges to face judicial actions until their innocence is proven.

Mr. Mahmud who had earlier described the raid of the judges’ homes and their subsequent arrest by the SSS as unlawful and an abuse of power by the operatives, said his recent decision is to safeguard the sanctity of the judiciary.

“In the interim, particularly having regards to what appears to be an ongoing accusations and counter-accusations between some of the judges and other personalities or agencies, it appears to the NBA that it is extremely important that the NJC takes very urgent steps to safeguard the public image and sanctity of the courts,”

“We therefore strongly recommend that, without prejudice to the innocence or otherwise of the Judges involved in the ongoing investigations, they should be required to recuse themselves from further judicial functions or required to proceed on compulsory leave until their innocence is fully and completely established or until the conclusion of all judicial or disciplinary proceedings.

“We believe this will be necessary in order to protect the sanctity and integrity of judicial processes that may involve the judges concerned and safeguard the public image of the institution.” he said.