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Aka Ikenga, SERAP want unconditional release of judges

By Bertram Nwannekanma   |   10 October 2016   |   2:58 am

Rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Igbo cultural group, Aka Ikenga have condemned the arrest of judges and raid on their homes by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The groups are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently instruct the DSS to immediately and unconditionally release all the judges arrested and end the intimidation and harassment of the judiciary.

Two justices of the Supreme Court, Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro were arrested after a raid on their homes in Abuja by operatives of the DSS early Saturday morning.

They are said to be currently in the custody of the DSS in Abuja.

The official residence of another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba was also searched.

Reacting to the development, the National President of Aka Ikenga, Chief Anayo Uwazurike expressed shock on the violation of the judiciary.

According to him, “the judiciary and the legislature are independent of the executive and therefore it was preposterous for the executive to violate this sacred arm of government under any guise.

“The constitution took this situation in mind when it created the National Judicial Council to appoint, discipline, promote and recommend the retirement of judges,” he stated.

Also in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, SERAP through its executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, expressed concerns about the wave of arrests, intimidation and harassment of judges across the country by the DSS.

According to the group, while it fully supports the government’s efforts to eradicate judicial corruption, it cannot accept anti-corruption strategies and methods, which patently offend the rule of law and undermine the authority, integrity, sanctity and independence of the judiciary.

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