(By Ndubuisi Orji – ABUJA)
As reactions continue to trail the arrest of some judges of the Supreme and Federal High Court by officials of the Department of State Security (DSS) last Saturday morning, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the action, describing it as a sign that the country was sliding into fascism.
Operatives of the DSS had raided the homes of some judges in Abuja and Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Saturday and whisked them away for alleged corrupt practices.
The PDP said the action of the security agency is an indication that the present administration, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, had no respect for the judiciary and the rule of law.
The party in a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye stated that this was the first time in the history of country that the judiciary would be subjected to such harassment by the executive arm of government.
It accused the All Progressives Congress(APC) administration of continuously showing disdain for the judiciary and the National Assembly, stating that the desire of President Buhari was to convert the nation’s democracy to an autocracy without checks and balances.
According to the opposition party, even if there was any case against the concerned judicial officers, the proper thing would have been to channel such cases to the National Judicial Council (NJC), the government charged with the discipline of judges in the country.
The statement read in part:
“Sometime in the early hours of October 8th, 2016 men of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) carried out Gestapo like invasions on the homes of a number of Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Federal High Court. The affected Justices of the Supreme Court were Sylvanus Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro. The affected Judges of the Federal High Court were Muazu Pindiga, Adeniyi Ademola, Abdullahi Liman and Nnamdi Dimgba.
“At this time, Justices Ngwuta and Okoro of the Supreme Court and Justices Adeniyi & Pindiga had been abducted and detained. Justice Dimgba only escaped abduction because he was not at home at the time.
“Justice Abdullahi’s abduction was prevented by the timely intervention of Governor Nyesom Wike, who insisted on the observance of the rule of law and the application of due process.
“During the invasion, the Justices were manhandled and members of their families as well as their household staff beaten up.
“This invasion is the latest in a series of actions taken by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which reveal its disregard for the rule of law and its abject disdain for the Principle of Separation of Powers.
“This inexorable slide into fascism began with the invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Government House by the self same DSS, the continued detention of several people despite Courts ordering their release, the invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and detention of Hon. Akanni Afolabi and the invasion of the Zamfara State House of Assembly.
“This slide into fascism has included a sustained attack on the leadership of the National Assembly as President Buhari has sought to break its independence and make it a rubber stamp to suit his will.
“The government has no regard for the rule of law. They do not care about Court Orders. This Government has disregarded the Orders of the ECOWAS Court and every other Courts in the land and continue to detain Dasuki illegally. They continue to detain hundreds of Nigerians without bringing them to trial and against valid Court Orders.”