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Okowa, Catholic bishops condemn action

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze (Abuja) and Owen Akenzua (Asaba)   |   12 October 2016   |   1:41 am



Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have condemned the arrest of some judges over corruption allegations by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Okowa stated in Asaba at the thanksgiving mass to kick-off the 2016/2017 legal year that the arrest is a threat to democracy, as well as intimidation of the judiciary.

CBCN President and Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, said in Abuja yesterday that the rule of law must be followed notwithstanding the culpability of those involved in corruption cases.

Kaigama noted that: “We are not in a system of government where people are just arrested for selfish or political interests.” He stressed that people should be found guilty before they are arrested and if they are found to be guilty there should also be no sentiments.

According to him: “We have been very clear with the president in our various meetings that the law must be upheld and there should be no sentiments in the application of the rule of law. This issue of ‘they are arrested because they belong to a party or to a particular geographical area and others’ is why Nigeria has refused to move forward.

“Whether president or ex-president if you breach the law, you are a target for legal action. In Nigeria we’re not used to this. That is why we find it hard to believe that judges can also be arrested. I am not talking about arbitrary arrest but arrests that are backed with proof, facts and evidence. Even myself or a former president if we breach the law we should be arrested, this is how we can restore sanity to this country.”

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