We can argue back and forth on the constitutionality and legality of the arrest of some alleged corrupt Judges by the Department of State Security, DSS but I am more worried, ashamed and appalled by the pedestrian, sentimental and uninformed arguments of young Nigerians whose future has been eroded by corruption.
I totally understand that there is poverty in the land and apathy towards the government of the day, but I was not aware of the level of poverty of the mind until now. However, before we proceed further, let us establish some facts to help us with our arguments and judgments:
1. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria prescribed immunity for the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor. Therefore the suspected judges do not have immunity against investigation, search, arrest and prosecution in criminal cases.
2. The National Judicial Commission (NJC) is not an investigative or prosecuting agency. It is constitutionally empowered to appoint, regulate and discipline judicial officers only on issues of professional ethics and conducts and not criminal cases.
3. In the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) which is the procedural law that guides the activities of all federal agencies such as DSS, Nigerian Police, EFCC, ICPC and others, there is no restriction on the day or time of arrest of suspects. As affirmed by section 43 (1) of ACJA which states that: “A warrant of arrest may be executed on any day, including a Sunday or public holiday.”
4. Sections 12 (2) & 13 Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) give a law enforcement officers the powers to break into and out of any house for the purpose of arresting a suspect who fails to let the arresting officer in. Provided there is a valid warrant of arrest duly issued by a Federal High Court sitting anywhere in the Nigeria. According to section 47 (1) of the same Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015).
Having established the above. The manner of arrest and the timing of the operation of DSS should therefore not be the issue, nor where the judges come from, their tribe, but their innocence or otherwise.
The fact that judges have not been arrested before in this clime does not mean it does not happen elsewhere nor make it illegal, as long as it is within the ambit of the law which they (the Judges) preside over.
In conclusion, a corrupt judge is more dangerous than a terrorist and a threat to national security. Therefore, before we join the bandwagon of support or condemnation of any government action or inaction, citizens, especially the youths should avail themselves of the privilege of the Internet and do a little bit of research about subject matters.
God bless Nigeria!