Nigeria’s security agency said it had seized $800,000 in cash in raids targeting senior judges suspected for corruption.
The Department of State Security (DSS) said the raids were carried out recently adding that some judges were also arrested.
However, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has accused the authorities of carrying out the operation demanding for the release of those involved.
We have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently.
In a statement, the DSS said: “The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these judges.
“We have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis (of) amounts of money paid,” it said.
Senator representing Kogi west senatorial district at the National Assembly, Dino Malaye said he has no doubt that many judges are corrupt but added that the DSS acted outsides its powers by invading the homes of some judges on Saturday morning and arresting some of them.
DSS operatives raided the homes of Adeniyi Ademola, the Judge handling the trail of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), who is being prosecuted by the graft agency for alleged illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
The agency also raided the homes of Nnamdi Dimgba, a federal high court judge, Walter Onnoghen, a justice of the supreme court judge, and Sylvester Ngwuta, another supreme court judge.
DSS explained that the houses raided were those belonging to judges involved in corrupt and unholy practices. However, Malaye said DSS4s action was “absolutely wrong” as the act setting up the agency showed that it acted outside its core mandate.
Reacting to the raids, the NBA called on President Buhari to “immediately caution all the state security agencies and to respect the rule of law”.
In a statement signed by the senior special assistance to the president on media and publicity,Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari said he reserves his highest respect for the institution of the judiciary as the third arm of government, adding that the President will not do anything to undermine its independence.
Shehu said President Buhari remains a committed democrat, in words and in his action, and will not take any action in violation of the constitution.
NBS Television (@nbstv) October 10, 2016
Since taking office last year, Buhari has vowed to tackle the rampant official corruption, which has stunted economic growth across the country.