President Muhammadu Buhari has opened up on the reason for the arrest of Supreme Court justices and judges across the nation.
The Presidency said the on-going `surgical operation’ against some judicial officers is specifically targeted at corruption and not at the judiciary as an institution.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, made the clarification in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
According to Shehu, the president reserves his highest respect for the institution of the judiciary as the third arm of government and will not do anything to undermine its independence.
Shehu said Buhari remained a committed democrat, “in words and in his actions, and will not take any action in violation of the constitution.
“In a robust democracy, such as ours, there is bound to be a plurality of opinions on any given issue but there is a convergence of views that the country has a corruption problem that needs to be corrected.
“But reports by a section of the media are giving us cause for concern.’’
The Presidential aide advised that, in undertaking the task of reporting, the media should be careful about the fault lines they opened.
“It is wrong to present this incident as a confrontation between the executive and judicial arms of government,’’ he said
Shehu said the Presidency had received assurances from the Department of Security Services (DSS) that all due processes of the law, including the possession of search and arrest warrants, were obtained before the searches on some judges.
“To suggest that the government is acting outside the law in a dictatorial manner is to breach the interest of the state,’’ he said.
The arrest of three judges for alleged corruption has angered some stakeholders in the judiciary, especially Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
The NBA has asked the president to order the release of the judges or face the consequences.