A Senior Advocate and Professor of Environmental law, Prof. Amari Omaka has affirmed that the Department of State Services, DSS, has no moral justifications to arrest any judge.
According to Omaka, who currently lectures in the Law Faculty of Ebonyi State University, though he was not in support of any form of corruption by any individual at any level, the manner the current government was going about the anti-corruption crusade was disheartening.
Addressing newsmen on Tuesday, the academic said, “The manner in which the Department of State Services has gone about these arrests leaves less to be desired because I know as a legal practitioner of my standing that there are ways of disciplining erring judges.
“So to me, it is a desecration of the highly-honoured judicial system for DSS to go into their houses to arrest them without any recourse to due process.”
He stressing that “at the level of the Supreme Court judges, if any of them were invited to come and answer questions on allegations leveled against them, naturally, the person would honour such”.
Prof Omaka who is the first and only Senior Advocate from Ebonyi suggested that rather than arrest judges, the proper thing would have been for the DSS to pass through the Chief Justices.
“But for you to go at the dead of the night to arrest judges is the height of assault because people can’t even believe they are law enforcement agents.
“It is so ungodly and I think it is quite embarrassing to desecrate the hallowed chambers of this country all in the name of fighting corruption”, Prof. Omaka alarmed.
He insisted that the action smacked of nothing than disrespect for the Independence of the judiciary.
“At that point you can get a warrant to arrest that person. But then is it even the duty of the DSS to execute a warrant?
“We have the Nigeria police and in the first place, it is not the responsibility of the DSS to arrest persons whether they are criminals or not. It is the job of the police to make such arrests and not that of the DSS particularly at that time we ‘heard’ the arrests were made”, Prof. Omaka said.
He called on the Federal Government to be civilized in the fight against corruption as the rule of law spelt due process and civility.
“That is why I am in all force with the NBA at the national that they should all be unconditionally released and let them face the due process of prosecuting those who have erred in law no matter how high or low they are. It is quite embarrassing if somebody can go to the apex court and begin to arrest people. That means nobody is safe”, he stated.
“In fact, what catapulted him from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court was his integrity.
“Although any person can change any day and am not holding brief for him, but until the contrary is proved, some of us are afraid that their may be some witch-hunt somewhere”, he added.