Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
Mome protesters trooped to the streets of Abuja on Monday and described the recent arrest of judges by the Department of State Services on allegation of corrupt conduct as a revenge operation and not a fight against corruption.
The protesters comprised lawyers, a large number of young people and some women.
They rejected the call for the arrested judges to step down from office, and also condemned the failure of the government to obey court orders directing that some suspects be released from custody.
The procession was organised by two groups, Lawyers in Defence of Democracy and Citizens for Governance.
With the demonstrators wielding banners and flyers bearing bold inscriptions condemning the arrest of judges, the procession took off at about 10am on Monday along Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja.
They had a stopover at the National Human Rights Commission along the same street, proceeded to the Federal High Court, along Shehu Shagari Way, Central District, Abuja, and headed to the Supreme Court and the National Assembly, both in the Three Arms Zone, Abuja.
Some of the inscriptions on the protesters’ banners read, ‘No to call for judges to step down’; ‘Attack on judges who granted bail on bailable offences against govt wish is an attempt to silence the judiciary and ‘Nobody is above the law, rule of law must be respected’.
Another inscription on placards brandished by majority of the protesters read, ‘Our Stand: #No to the plot to intimidate the judiciary; #No to the plot to intimidate judges to step aside; #No to the flagrant disrespect of court orders; #We reject the plot to overthrow the rule of law.”
Addressing journalists and other protesters before the procession commenced on Monday, the convener of the protest, Mr. Ikenga Ugochinyere, passed a vote of confidence in the National Judicial Council for “defending the independence of the judiciary and sanctity of democracy” by “insisting on rule of law” and not yielding to the call to suspend the affected judges.
Ugochinyere also rejected the recent call by the Nigerian Bar Association that the affected judges should excuse (withdraw) themselves from further sittings until they were able to clear their names.
He added, “There should have been no need for the deliberate misinformation to the public that the invasion of the judges’ homes was due to the uncooperative stance of the NJC.
“Make no mistake about it, the attacks on Justices Dimgba, Ademola, Inyang Okoro, Liman were revenge operations not a fight against corruption.”
Ugochinyere, who also condemned the alleged failure of some Federal Government agencies to obey court orders directing them to release the suspects in their custody, said the operations of the DSS were targeted at the judges who were bold to give orders against the government.
He added, “Nigerians may wish to ask certain questions now. Is Justice Ngwuta’s sin not his lead judgment in the Ekiti governorship election which the ruling party wanted at all costs?
“Is Justice Adeniyi Ademola’s sin not his stand on the events that happened between him and the Honourable Attorney General when he was a judge in the Kano Division of the Federal High Court or his orders in the cases of Sambo Dasuki, Nnamdi Kanu, President Buhari’s certificate saga and the orders he made on the attack date of October 7 against the DSS awarding a total of N30m as human rights violation compensation to two complainants?
“Is Justice Dimgba’s sin not his order that he will not hear any applications by the DSS till they obey all his earlier orders and his order declaring one Umar Mohammed as unlawful and ordering his release despite the order has not been obeyed many months after it was made and the political detainee being in detention now for 140 days.” Punch.ng.com