Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the invasion of residences of five judges, including those of two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justice Walter Onnoghen and Justice Sylvester Ngwuta – by armed men of the Department of State Service and reported arrest as a direct assault on the judiciary.
Onnoghen is the second in command and in line to succeed the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Muhammad.
Addressing journalists on Saturday in Ado Ekiti, Fayose, said “It should now be obvious to all Nigerians and the international community that democracy is under threat in Nigeria and Nigerians must rise to save democracy from being truncated.
“For all intent and purposes, there is no how the Federal Government can justify the gestapo and crude action of the DSS against our judiciary, the last hope of the common man and I believe they just want to hide under anti-corruption fight to blackmail and intimidate the judiciary. If not, have the affected judges been reported to the National Judicial Council, the body saddled with the responsibilities of investigating and sanctioning erring judges?
“Were the affected judges ever invited by the DSS and they refused to honour the invitation?
The governor said he was particularly worried over the involvement of Justice Onnoghen in the invasion.
Over times in Supreme Court, the second takes over as the CJN.
“I hope this is not a plot to prevent his appointment as the next CJN just because he is from the South South region.
“Nigerians should be reminded that I raised similar alarm when this regime of impunity started with the invasion of the Akwa-Ibom State Government House and later the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
“I did say then that democracy in Nigeria was becoming unsafe in the hands of this APC government and that those keeping silent because of politics might also end up in the belly of the roaring lion that is threatening to consume our democracy. Then, those who ought to have joined in condemning the DSS impunity at that time kept silent for fear of the unknown.
“Now we have gotten to the height of it and Nigeria faces full-blown military dictatorship! This is sad!”
Fayose noted that two of the judges involved, Justice Adeniyi Ademola and Justice Nnamdi Dimgba recently ruled against the DSS and condemned its impunity on the cases of former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) and retired Air Commodore, Umar Mohammed.
“One wonders if upholding the rule of law by refusing to help the DSS to sustain its reign of impunity has now become a criminal offence for which judges must be harassed, intimidated and arrested.