Emeka Ugwuonye Esq-

I could see that many people do not understand the issues involved. But I will try to reduce it to a level where everybody can understand it.

(1) Judges are responsible for sending all the people in prisons to prison. So, if you send a judge to prison, he is going to meet people he sent to prison. (A FORMER judge will still go to prison if convicted of a crime. But mark my word “FORMER” judge). Why did I use the word “former”? Because before sending a judge to prison, you must first remove him from being a judge, so that when he arrives in prison, he will not remain a judge.

(2) All the people in DSS cell today will either be released or charged to court. When charged to court, they will appear before judges. So, if you detain a judge in the same cell as the other people, what will happen tomorrow when they appear in the same court before the judge who was their cell mate?

(3) There is the presumption of innocence, which means that the judges will remain judges until they are proven guilty, which could be 4 years from today. So, it is important to first remove a judge as a judge before he is prosecuted. Otherwise the same man will be standing criminal trial at a time he is still a judge. So, if his own case is coming up on Tuesday, he will serve as a judge on Monday, but on Tuesday, he will stand in the dock as an accused person. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, he would sit as a judge in the next courtroom.

(4) If the judge remains a judge (since he has not been removed as a judge) during the time that his own case is being tried, it is the same DSS prosecutors prosecuting him that will appear before him to prosecute other suspects. If you are a lawyer representing a suspect agains the DSS in the court of this judge who is also being tried by the DSS, you will fear that the judge would be too afraid of the DSS to render impartial judgment.

It is odd, stupid, impracticable and unconstitutional to arrest a sitting judge for a common crime.

This is what the Nigerian law envisaged: If a judge commits a crime, what you report him to the national judicial council (NJC). That is the body that disciplines judges. That body will dismiss the judge within 6 months. Then you can prosecute the judge and there is no possibility of him sitting at the same time as he is being prosecuted.

Ironically, if you start criminal prosecution of a judge, the NJC cannot do anything until you finish the criminal trial, which can take 4 years. So, the best way for a judge to remain a judge for a long time is for you to start criminal trial rather than a disciplinary proceeding to remove him first.

For the reasons I pointed out above, all over the world, there is a special procedure for dealing with a judge that committed a crime. The first step is to remove him as a judge so he will not remain a judge when his case is being tried.

Anybody that supports DSS in this matter does not understand what happened yesterday. Consider the following:

(1) The DSS said they have been monitoring the judges to observe their lifestyle. That means that they were monitoring all the judges. That also means that they have been invading the privacy of these judges all this while. The judges would lose their independence if they are under the indiscriminate surveillance of the DSS.

(2) What is lifestyle? It means everything. The DSS has been engaging in illegal wiretapping and other abuses on the judicial arm of government.

(3) The DSS said they went after the judges for misconduct. Misconduct may not be a crime. So, they went after some of the judges for having girlfriends.

(3) The DSS said they invited the judges who came to meet them during their investigation, If so, why then did you storm their houses in the middle of the night. Why not invite them again and arrest them while they are in your office?.

(4) Where are the arrest warrant for their arrests? Where are the search warrants for search their houses?

(5) Why arrest them on weekend, if not to ensure they will not have access to any court until they have been detained for two days?

(6) When did the DSS audit the lifestyle of the President and his family? Why the judges alone?

In a way, there is something good that will come from this case. Ironically, these judges have been too afraid of the DSS and the EFCC. As a result, they failed over the years to take a clear position on the continued arrest of people without warrant. Now, it has been used on them. They will sit down next week and rule on the matter. I expect them to rule out all but very few arrests without warrant. The same with warrantees searches. Also, these judges allowed the police to arrest people on Fridays and they held that the 24 hour time frame the constitution required did not apply on weekends. There is no reason why it should not apply on weekends. Now it has been used on them.

Credit: Emeka Ugwuonye Esq-Facebook

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16 COMMENTS

  1. A very instructive and meaningful write-up. The manner in which the actions are carried out appears very crude. As they will be charged to court today October 10, 2016, it will amount to a callous treatment to those who have cases in their courts today as their cases will not be heard. It will also certainly make foreign investors lose confidence in the Nigerian economy and the polity. Above all, it violates the subsisting conventional means of trying and removing suspected erring judges in the country.

    • If u like call me an illiterate…. na una sabi…. person wey ploice catch wey talk say hin no wan pass korodo, hennn no wahala pass korodu…

      The analogy above works most times in a “civilized country” ohhh u will accuse me again that ain’t Naija a civilzed country? bros 4get dat matter….. Its in an uncivilised places you will see dis kind of judges and ofcos what follows is also dis kind of treatment. shikena.. all dat yearn 4 yop… bros 4get it na story… as far as I am concerned, a message has been sent…. and mark dis word… in d next few months lets see what happens in our judiciary…. I wont say more than that.

  2. I am totally incredulous that this rubbish was written by an agent of the temple of Justice. It saddens me when someone who should know,decides to muddy the waters due to very parochial interests.
    Please point out the illegality of the DSS actions quoting the relevant sections of Nigerian law, then we will talk.
    Sting operations,investigation and prosecution of corrupt officials even Judges is a worldwide norm. They are not de-benched or disbarred before prosecution either. Teacher don’t teach us nonsense!!!

    • I am proud to a Nigerian….. let him know in case he doesn’t know that Nigerians are not foolss. Teacher don’t teach us nonsense!!! comot 4 road 4 jagajaga.

  3. This article is particularly targeted as an appeal to sympathy.

    DSS called their Saturday 8 October operation “a special sting”. He did not make reference to that in all his somersaults here.

    He is entitled to his opinion.

  4. What is the authority for your position. Everything you said is based on sentiments. there is no provision in our laws that shields judges from criminal prosecution. They are only immune from criminal or civil liability regarding judgements they have pronounced on.

  5. Maybe I should refer this gentleman to the relevant section of the law: The DSS did what is lawful

    SELECTED SECTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT THAT YOU MAY NEED TO TAKE NOTE OF

    1. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) is the procedural law that guides the activities of all federal investigating and prosecutorial agencies like the police, EFCC, ICPC, DSSS,etc., as well as the Federal High Court, High Court of the FCT, National Industrial Court, Code of Conduct Tribunal, etc.

    2. Any action taken by any prosecutorial agency either during investigation or prosecution must be in line with the ACJA

    3. Under the ACJA, there is no time limit or time frame when a person can be arrested. There is no day that a person cannot be arrested.

    4 Sections 12 (2) & 13 ACJA gives a law officer the power to break into and out of any house for the purpose of arresting a suspect who fails to let the arresting officer in.

    5 Section 43 (1) ACJA provides that : “A warrant of arrest may be executed on any day, including a Sunday or public holiday.”

    6. The person arresting may not necessarily be the person to prosecute. A private person may arrest a suspect and hand him over to a prosecuting authority(Section 23 ACJA).

    8. A person may be arrested notwithstanding that the person arresting him is not in possession of an arrest warrant on demand, but can show the warrant as soon as practicable. Section 44 ACJA.

    9. “A warrant of arrest issued by a Federal High Court sitting anywhere may be executed in any part of Nigeria.” Section 47 (1) ACJA.

    10. A search warrant can be executed by anyone to whom it is directed (Section 147 ACJA)
    .
    11. “A search warrant may be issued and executed at any time on any day, including a Sunday or public holiday.”(Section 148).

    OTHER FACTS TO NOTE….

    1. No judicial officer has immunity against, arrest, search, investigation and/or prosecution in respect of an allegation of crime. Apart from the President, vice president, Governor and a Deputy Governor, no other person has immunity from arrest and/or prosecution.

    2. The National Judicial Commission (NJC) is responsible for the appointment, discipline/punishment of judicial officers only in respect of breach of judicial ethics, and not crime.

    3. Even where a judicial officer has been sanctioned by the NJC for any misconduct, the state still reserves the right to prosecute the erring officer if his misconduct amounts to a crime.

    Copied….

  6. Why is it that all of a sudden, we hear lawyers and legal practitioners lending their voices and their thoughts to the ‘sting’ operation on the judges by the DSS? Why has there been silence on their end when similar so called misconduct is meted out to other Nigerians who are not Judges? Why have they suddenly found their voices to defend and to break down the illegalities around this particular issues but not on other issues? Are judges different from other Nigerians? These are the line of my thoughts

  7. Comment: Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State Hight Court was first dismissed by the NJC before handing him over to AIG Zone 1, Kano for prosecution.

    One of the DSS staff was reported to have said and I qoute:
    “…but for our professional operatives and service direction we would have beaten Wike so that he would have explanations to make on why he went to the crime scene in that odd hour of the night…”

    Can you imagine?

    “…

  8. Emeka Ugwuonye should keep his useless mouth shut. You are all thieves. Where where you and your useless and senceless NBA when the poor are been oppressed? What step has NJC taken on past corrupt judges? Do you know the number of innocent nigerians languishing in jail? Do you know the number of people that has lost there lives bcos of these devils call judge? Emeka Ugwuonye and all these judges will die untimely death if you dont keep your mouth shut. Let me see any other senceless comment u and your generation yet unborn will never now peace in life . barowo banza

  9. We are not in support of corruption but President Buhari’s fight against corruption is selective and use as a tool for intimidation and victimization of those in opposition. Those Judges who delivered judgments in favour of PDP are investigated and arrested. Some judges who refused to dance to the tunes of the dictators are transferred or replaced. All Corrupt Politicians in APC are Saints. All we see are vendetta, hypocrisy, falsehood and Rule of law is not observed, if it’s not in favour of the Ruling Party and their dictators. Before ‘Election Rerun’ PDP Chieftains are arrested and detained by DSS and Soldiers. Our current system is highly undemocratic. The Almighty God will continue to safe Nigeria. He has the power to fight injustice.

  10. The people defending these judges are enemies of this country. My understanding of NJC is that the come in when a judged erred professionally but not when a judge commits a criminal offence. The NBA is taking another funny dimension to entire matter. Conniving and compromising with corruption, it’s incredible that a body like this instead of rallying Nigerians in support of corruption is fighting and threatening govt. When it happened to Salami they want cold. We see the political dimension on the issue. If we do not kill corruption it will kill us.

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