Falana condemns NBA’s demand unconditional release of arrested judges

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday criticised the Nigerian Bar Association for demanding the unconditional release of the judges arrested by the Department of State Services between Friday and Saturday.


He described the demand by the leadership of the NBA as an embarrassment to the “incorruptible members of the bar”.

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The operatives of the DSS had raided the official quarters of judges at Abuja, Gombe, Kano and Port Harcourt and ended up arresting at least four judicial officers.

The arrested judicial officers comprised two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro – as well as Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court and another judge of the Gombe State High Court, Justice Mu’azu Pindiga.

In a statement issued at the end of the raid, the DSS alleged that the suspects had engaged in judicial misconduct and corrupt practices, adding that a huge amount of money was recovered from three of the judges.

In response to the raid, the NBA had declared a state of emergency and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the judges.

Falana, however, criticised the move, saying, “In particular, the Nigerian Bar Association which has information on all corrupt judges and lawyers in the country has continued to shield them to the embarrassment of incorruptible members of the bar and the bench.

“The few lawyers who have plucked up the courage to expose corrupt judges and lawyers have been stigmatised and treated like lepers by their colleagues.

“It is on record that when both the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sent invitation letters to judges suspected of corruption they had rushed to the Federal High Court to obtain interlocutory injunctions to prevent their arrest, investigation and prosecution.”

He said members of the legal profession had themselves to blame for the harassment of judges by security forces as they had failed to take advantage of the relevant statutory disciplinary bodies to purge the bar and the bench of corrupt elements.

“It is on account of negligence on the part of the legal profession that the SSS which screens candidates before they are recommended by the National Judicial Council for appointment as judges has now engaged in the arrest of judges for alleged corruption and abuse of office,” he said.

Falana, however, said because the detained judges “are presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the State, they should be admitted to bail in self recognisance.”

He urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to ensure that the judges were immediately arraigned without delay.

He lamented the state of the legal profession, saying, “It is a matter of grave concern that the legal profession has allowed the denigration of the hallowed temple of justice because of the misconduct of a few corrupt judges.

“For several years, judges who committed grave criminal offences were not prosecuted but merely retired by the authorities on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.

“Although the National Judicial Council recently recommended the dismissal and prosecution of a judge for extorting the sum of N197m from a litigant the authorities had paid lip service to the menace of judicial corruption in the country.”



  1. God bless you, Falana.! It’s amazing how Nigerians quickly rise to the defense of alleged corrupt officers when they are arrested without looking at the magnanimity of their offence.
    That is corruption fighting to protect corruption…… Nobody is asking how a judge got millions of dollars but they can see their arrest. Nigeria cannot be great if we continue this way. ! See what happened to corrupt judges in developed democratic country like the US

    Those who are agitating that corrupt judges should be ‘invited’ and treated as ‘VIPs’ should Check out three classical examples of what happens to corrupt judges below. Do a simple Google search and see more.

    FBI arrests Puerto Rico judge in corruption case

    NC Superior Court judge arrested on bribery, corruption charges :: WRAL.com

    Nine Philadelphia judges arrested on charges of corruption — Puppet Masters — Sott.net

    This are from the greatest democracy in the world

  2. Those NBA clowns who are, by their action, encouraging corruption are only making a global mockery of Nigeria’s judicial system
    Shame on all corruption sympathisers, for they are the main enemies behind Nigeria’s protracted retarded growth

  3. Mr. Falana, your SAN is well deserving. You were objective and honest in your response and professional in your recommendation of the immediate next thing to do. We are quick to be told in theory that “No one is above the law of the land” but what we see in practice is “The Animal Farm” society where “some are more equal than others” . Petty thief is usually jailed for years in prison by these Highly placed Judges but they can take bribes in dollars to misapply the law of the land and give very ridiculous judgements and get away with it. Ofcourse the ordinary man cannot approach these judges but their kind in the bar have full access to carry “ghana must go” to them and do have their cuts in the process. Finally an igbo adage as amplified by Chinua Achebe says that ” a man that brings home ant infested wood cannot complain when lizards pay him a visit”.

  4. It seems to me that NBA who is just an association is now talking like authoritarian. Does that means NSE or COREN can also ask government not to fight corruption because their members are been interrogated. The present NBA President has proven to be a corrupt SAN with his action and inactions. I believe there are thousands of judges, why can’t they arrest all of them. It means those arrested have questionable character. Why should a body of a mere association prevent government from working. I think those who care for this country should advice the NBA president to know what he says and what he does at this time of the day. We are all wise.

  5. This is the quintessential Gani Fawehinmi’s position.Femi Falana is the closest in ideological congruity to what Gani Fawehinmi represented and posthumously stands for.
    An NBA that is overwhelmingly elitist and is money conscious is an anathema to the imperative of change from the old order. Bar Jite Ogunye took one one of them to task on channel Tv on point of law and the SAN was rattled.
    It is even more offensive to an enlightened mind that the SAN could glamorize Fayose and Wike’s brigandage to drive home his disgraceful anecdotes.
    This nation belongs to all of us and no judge should be accorded preferential treatment.
    We are sick and tired of judicial miscarriage of justice on a disingenuous appeal to the tendentious rule of law.

  6. Don’t mind them Femi. By their fruits we shall know them. The judiciary is stinking and we must sanitise the place. They should be charged to court.

  7. The arrest of the judicial officers had vindicated the president who had long said that the judiciary is the reason for the delay in prosecuting corruption in Nigeria.

  8. Great and undeniable kudos to Femi Falana and his likes. I tell you , late Gani Fawehinmi will be jubillating wherever he is now that Femi kept the fight going. You have shown to all those who still have the interest of Nigeria at heart , that you are among the very few that actually deserve SAN. Unfortunately, this NBA in one of their meetings in River State condemned some judges that delivered conflicting judgements in their respective courts. If what NBA said then , was not lip service , why are you against the arrest of these judges for trial. Is this how NBA intends to cooperate with PMB in fighting corruption? Or are you afraid that the arrested judges statement will implicate some of your staunch members? This is not ‘Animal Farm’, we are all equal before the law. DSS please continue in this fight, well meaning Nigerians are solidly behind you. Will advice NBA to go and have a rethink of that unwanted and unseasoned pronouncements. What we need are seasoned legal luminaries like Femi Falana and his likes , to man NBA as a body. Long live Femi Falana for been bold like a lion to speak the truth. Long live PMB and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

  9. I am particularly happy on the turn of events concerning the efforts to clean Nigeria’s biggest obstacle against war against corruption: THE JUDICIARY. With this, we are getting to know the real enemies of Nigeria: the leadership of the bar, the rotten leadership of the judiciary workers whose greed didn’t allow to know that the judiciary workers stand to benefit more from a clean judiciary. All these corrupt people can shout themselves hoax for all Nigerians care but Nigerians are solidly behind PMB and his corrective administration on all they are doing to clean the mess that has been left unattended to for a long time due to lack of moral capacity to tackle corruption head-on. I know that at the end of the day, Nigerians will remain ever grateful to PMB for his integrity, moral capacity and courage to do all he is doing to make our country Nigeria a better place for all of us. God bless PMB!

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