Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to declare as unlawful the raid and arrest of judges by the Department State Services (DSS).
The group also prayed for an order of injunction stopping the planned charge and arraignment in court of some of the arrested judges.
LEDAP claimed in the suit that the judges cannot be charged and arraigned in court without the authorization of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Respondents in the suit are the SSS and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (AGF).
In a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed at the Federal High Court Abuja yesterday, LEDAP seeks for “an order restraining the defendants/respondents (DSS and AGF) from filing any charge in court or arraigning before any court or arresting and/or detaining, inviting for questioning or searching the office or residence of any of the judicial officers listed in the schedule hereunder or any other judicial officer in Nigeria unless with the authorization and referral of the NJC, pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons filed in this suit.”
In the originating summons also filed along with the motion for injunction, the court is asked to make a declaration that the statutory functions of the 1st defendant (SSS) is the prevention and detection of crime against the internal security of Nigeria, and the protection and preservation of non-military classified matters concerning internal security of Nigeria.
They also want the court to declare that the 1st defendant is not authorized under its enabling law, namely, the National Security Agencies Act or any other law in force to engage in the investigation and prosecution of corruption, economic, or financial crimes in any form or manner, or in the investigation and prosecution of any crime whatsoever against any criminal suspect in Nigeria.
“A declaration that the statutory functions of the 1st defendant is to collect intelligence information on crimes against internal security and non-military classified matters concerning internal security of Nigeria and to pass such information to the appropriate agency authorized by law to investigate and prosecute such crimes, namely, the Nigerian Police Force created under the Police Act, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission created under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, the Independent anti-Corruption and related Practices Commission created under the Independent anti-Corruption and related Practices Commission Act, the National Agency on the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons created under the National Agency on the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act.”
“The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency created under the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act; and in matters concerning serving judicial officers of any of the courts mentioned in section 6(5) of the 1999 Constitution, to the National Judicial Council established under section 153(1)(i) of the 1999 Constitution and authorized under section 158 (1) and paragraphs 20 and 21 of Part 1 Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution to exclusively deal with matters relating to judicial officers,” they prayed, urging the court o declare the raid on residences of judicial officers as ultra vires and unlawful.
Apart from asking for an award of N1m for each of the judicial officers, LEDAP is praying for an order prohibiting SSS from prosecuting the accused judicial officers. No date has been fixed by the court.