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Nigerian judiciary has been desecrated, says Atiku

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
07 December 2019   |   4:17 am
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called for an immediate inquiry that would reveal the identity of the operatives of the Department of State Service

Atiku

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called for an immediate inquiry that would reveal the identity of the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) that allegedly maltreated Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja, yesterday, in their attempt to re-arrest Mr Omoyele Sowore, the convener of the #RevolutionNow protest.

Atiku said the action was an abuse of the sanctity of the judiciary, adding that all those involved should be sanctioned.

Armed DSS officials reportedly stormed the courtroom, causing pandemonium at the court and physically assaulting Sowore such that the judge reportedly had to take cover.

She had earlier ordered the DSS to release Sowore within 24 hours and also pay him N100,000 for improper legal conduct.

The DSS then released Sowore only for him and his co-defendant to be violently re-arrested less than 24 hours after his release.

The former vice president in a statement he personally signed said he was “in extreme anguish of spirit having watched the unfortunate drama that played itself out at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in which agents of the state not only caused a commotion in court but attempted to frustrate a judgment of a court of competent authority.”

According to him, “never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a judge been treated in such a disdainful and brazen attack on not just her person and office, but on the entire judiciary.

Atiku described the situation as disgraceful and unacceptable, pointing out that “it is a rape on the sanctity of the court.”

“Nigeria is not a dictatorship. We are a democracy no matter how inconvenient this fact is to the powers that have forced themselves on us.

“I call for an immediate inquiry to be set up to identify those responsible for the maltreatment meted out to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu and the desecration of her court, and indeed the Nigerian judiciary. They must be sanctioned to the highest extent permissible by our laws,” Atiku said.

He further called on all law enforcement agencies in the country to immediately respect “not just the court order made by Justice Ojukwu, but the order of any court in Nigeria, on any detainee, be it Omoyele Sowore, Sambo Dasuki or Ibrahim Zakzaky, among others.”

He added: “We cannot have a situation where our government is quick to obey foreign court orders and even quicker to disobey domestic court orders. This is symptomatic of a mindset that is servile to foreign powers and brutal to Nigerians.

“Without the rule of law, there can be no rule at all. Power in Nigeria still flows from the people, not from the barrel of a gun. I call on all men and women of goodwill not to keep quiet or sit on the fence at times like this.

“To keep Nigeria democracy is the paramount duty of all concerned stakeholders. Please speak up against this tyranny and side with the Nigerian people.”