Judicial Corruption in Nigeria: Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and their Gestapo-style arrest of Judges – Reports on sting operation, arrests, recovered cash and details of monies recovered from homes of Nigerian alleged corrupt justices and judges from some states in Nigeria . . .
We seized $800,000 in raids on judges – DSS
DSS says $800,000 seized in sting operation raids on judges
Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS), stormed several residences of some of Nigeria’s senior judges in various parts of the country. The DSS seized cash in various currencies totaling $800,000 (according to Reuters) during the raids targeting some of the country’s most senior judges in corruption investigations, the DSS said on Saturday.
According to the DSS, it carried out the sting operations on some supreme, appeal and high court judges. The DSS said its raids were carried out to investigate allegations of corruption against the judges.
“We have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgments obtained fraudulently and on the basis of amounts of money paid,” it said in statement.
The security agency said it had discovered “cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these judges”. The DSS said preparations were on to bring criminal charges against the alleged culprits.
Judicial corruption: DSS storms several judges’ homes in Nigeria, whisk them away
Nigeria’s secret police known as the Department of State Services (DSS) operatives stormed the homes of several judges across the country early on Saturday morning and whisked them away for alleged corruption allegations. However, the situation was more dramatic in Rivers State when Gov Nyesom Wike tried to stop the security officials from apprehending a judge in the state.
The governor alleged that he was manhandled by the DSS officials. He claimed that they pushed him, injured him and cocked their guns at him. Other reports indicate that other DSS operatives invaded the homes of several judges, including two supreme court judges and whisked them away. The security operatives also damaged some doors and other furniture at some of the homes invaded.
DSS Raid On Judges Revealed: Details
The Department of State Services (DSS) stormed some senior supreme, appeal and high court judges’ houses in several states of Nigeria. According to sources within the hierarchy of the Nigerian secret police, the sting operations were predicated on the result of petitions and decisions of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
SaharaReporters reports that her sources stated that contrary to earlier reports, the Supreme Court nominee for Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was not targeted in any of the raids conducted so far. Justice Onnohen reportedly raised alarm to friends when he noticed police action next to his residence as a team of security agents swooped on his next door neighbor, Justice Sylvanus Ngwunta.
A press release issued by the DSS indicated that Justice Onnohen is not under investigation, SaharaReporters learnt that the justice’s appointment is being fast-tracked to become the CJN in a few days. However, two Supreme Court justices, John Inyang Okoro and Sylvanus Ngwuta, were arrested in connection with the receipt of bribes from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Justice Ngwuta reportedly traveled to Qatar to receive bribes that he shared with Justice Okoro and other justices in order to help Mr. Wike to win a case at the Supreme Court regarding his disputed election.
During a search of his home Justice Ngwunta was in possession of N35,208m, $319,475, 25,890 pounds and 280 Euros The two judges have been linked with massive properties development in Abuja and Calabar. Justice Okoro is said to be building seven houses simultaneously in Calabar with the help of former Governor Godswill Akpabio and his predecessor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom state. Justice Okoro had N4.35m, $38,833 and 1000 Euros in his possession during his arrest this morning.
SaharaReporters learned that Governor Wike sprang up late at night to obstruct the arrest of a judge in Port Harcourt. The altercation that ensued created a tense atmosphere between the Governor and security operatives sent to arrest the judge. One source told SaharaReporters that the judge involved was Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
Justice Liman, who is yet to be apprehended reportedly took $2million from Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party to give a judgement that “overthrew” the faction led by a former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff. Governor Wike reportedly transferred the funds in cash to Liman in Ghana, before it was ferried to his home in Port Harcourt. The bribe was to be shared between Lima and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta. When the team arrived the house in Port Harcourt where the loot was kept Gov. Wike mobilized his men to counter the DSS team with the aid of the State’s Police Commissioner.
Photos above: Documents culled from SaharaReporters
Another source also stated that one Justice Uche Nma Agomoh of the Federal High Court in the same city who was a lackey of the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu was also involved in the scam. A statement issued by the DSS stated that their team was obstructed by the governor and some thugs with the help of officers from a sister agency, which SaharaReporters learnt is a reference to the Nigerian police. A security source claimed that Governor Wike left when confronted by police and DSS agents who threatened to shoot him, however, the obstruction aided movement of the cash found on the property. Governor Wike told a different version to the press, claiming he did not know who the judge was.
DSS arrests Judges In different states over corruption
The Nigerian Government commenced the arrest of judges who purportedly took bribe to subvert justice in their rulings on the 2015 general elections. Consequent to that, the DSS is on a nationwide operation against judicial corruption. In a nationwide crackdown on Friday night the DSS began arresting judges suspected to have collected huge cash to pervert the cause of justice before, during and after the 2015 general elections as well as in other cases.
Reports say the official quarters of Hon. Justice Walter Onoghen, who was recently recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria, and Hon. Justice Sylvester Ngwuta also of the Supreme Court were besieged by the DSS for several hours overnight.
The clampdown, which began in Gombe State with the arrest of Hon. Justice Muazu Pindigi who served on the elections tribunal in Rivers State, continued in Abuja on Friday night into early Saturday morning. In Abuja, the DSS stormed the the home Hon. Justice Nnamdi Dimgba and Hon. Justice Adeniyi Ademola, both of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, in their official residences located inside Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja. The latter was later arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, there are fresh reports that three judges from Sokoto, Bauchi and Kano states were also taken into custody by the secret police for allegedly collecting bribes.
© Nigerian News Desk • Judicial corruption in Nigeria