Senate to probe arrested Judges

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By Ifeanyi Nwoko

The Senate on Wednesday resolved to invite the six justices that were arrested by operatives of the Department of State Security for further investigation into the matter.

The justices are to appear before the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matter to provide answers to certain question from the Senate.

The Chairman of the Committee Sen. David Umaru disclosed the plans to invite the judges on Wednesday while relying on a point of order to make a personal explanation.

“Mr President by virtue of the 1999 Constitution as amended and order 96, Rule 37 of our rules, the powers of this committee to oversight the Judiciary and particularly its powers include judicial matters and Judges and Justices of the court.

“I am bringing this to the attention of the Senate so that we can take the permission of this senate to enable us conduct proper oversight on this matter and invite the justices to enable us interact with them in order to conduct proper oversight as we are enjoined by the provision of our rules and the 1999 constitution,” he said.

In his reponse, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki gave the committee to go ahead with their oversight function as they had already been empowered.

“You do not need to come to us, you have your powers under the oversight and you should be able use the powers and do whatever you deem necessary.

“So do your job in line with your powers,” Saraki said.

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Recall that operatives of the DSS went on a sting operation on Saturday Oct. 8 where it arrested six justices who were alleged to be corrupt.

The justices arrested include John Okoro and Sylvester Nguta of the Supreme Court and a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Umezulike.

Others are Namdi Dimgba and Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabiru Auta, from Kano; Muazu Pindiga of Federal High Court in Gombe.

Meanwhile, The National Judicial Council (NJC) on Oct. 13, described the arrest of the judges as threat to democracy and a threat to the independence of the Judiciary.

The NJC made its position known after its emergency meeting held on Oct. 11.

The Council insisted that the arrest was an attempt to humiliate, intimidate, denigrate and cow the Judiciary.

– NAN

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