Judges under probe back at work



Ten days after operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) stormed his Abuja home in a midnight, sting operation, Justice Francis Ademola of the Federal High Court shrugged off the experience and resumed work, yesterday.
His colleague in Gombe State, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, also presided over a session in court, yesterday. Dimgba was not arrested by the DSS in an operation which saw two Supreme Court Justices also arrested in the wee hours of October 8, 2016.
Justice Ademola reportedly attended sitting on 11 cases in his Court 7 on the Fifth Floor of the Federal High Court building in Maitama District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
On his part, Justice Dimgba reportedly attended to only one case.
However, most cases Justice Ademola attended to were adjourned because of the litigants and their counsel did not show up in court.
At the Supreme Court also, Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro resumed work, but were not part of a panel that sat yesterday.
Reports had indicated, last week, that the arrested judges would be arraigned this week on alleged corruption charges.
Earlier, the National Judicial Council (NJC) described raids on residences of judges as illegal. This was after the DSS alleged that Ademola had collected N350 million bribe of which a part of it was for the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta.
Two judges of the Federal High Court, Abuja, whose homes were raided by DSS operatives for alleged corruption have resumed sitting, days after the NJC frowned at the legality of the raids.
In a memo to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Mohammed, through his boss, Auta, Ademola insisted no money was found in his residence and so, he could not have given any money to him.
Ademola also said he was forced to attest to some alleged discoveries in his residence, at gun-point.
He also alleged in the letter that the search conducted at his residence and his subsequent arrest were meant to punish him for rulings he had given in favour of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, against the wish of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Malami dismissed Ademola’s allegations on Sunday night and insisted the SSS merely discharged its constitutional function of investigation. He said corruption is a threat to the security of any nation.
Over one week after the raids and arrests, the DSS is yet to file charges against the affected judges.
Justice Dimgba also wrote to the NJC protesting his innocence.
Reports also indicated that one of the judges arrested by the DSS last week, has said he made the cash found in his house from “rice business.”
“One of the judges said he made his money legitimately, in selling rice. He said this in a written statement,” a security source said.
Another judge said the foreign currencies found on him were “unspent estacode,” allowances paid to government officials on foreign trips, usually in foreign currency.
Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday met with representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The NBA delegation was led by its President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN).
The meeting which started at about 3.30p.m, was held at the Vice President’s wing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting’s agenda was not made known but it was said  not to be unconnected with the recent arrest of some judges and raids on their homes carried out by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Osinbajo, himself a SAN, had justified the arrests, at the 46th yearly Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in Abuja last week, saying judges must be held accountable.