Attorney General, Malami Justifies Arrest Of Justices, Says “no One Should Be Above The Law”
SAN FRANCISCO, October 11, (THEWILL) – The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has justified the arrest of senior justices on allegations of corruption, by the Department of State Service, DSS, saying “No one is or should be above the law.”
The DSS executed an unprecedented pre-dawn raids weekend at residences of at least six justices nationwide, taking into custody seven justices, including two from the Supreme Court and one from the Court of Appeal.
There have been mixed reactions since news of the arrests hit the press with lawyers and the public split on the development, while the head of the judiciary and the bar association accused the executive of rascality and threatening democracy.
The justices were granted administrative bail on self-recognition by the DSS on Sunday and will report to the agency as investigations into their alleged crimes continue.
Malami, who Monday shunned a valedictory court session by the Supreme Court held in honour of retiring Justice Suleiman Galadima, spoke for the first time on the crackdown after inaugurating an Expert Review Committee on implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
When asked for his position on the arrests, he said: “Was there an allegation of crime? Was there relevant provision of criminal procedure responsible for investigation? Is there an allegation of corruption? If there is, no body, no matter how highly placed will be spared.
“The right to investigate has not been taken away from the constitution. The allegation boarders on criminality and no one is or should be above the law. Neither the judiciary or the executive will be exempted from investigation.”
THEWILL recalls that the DSS arrested Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, both of the Supreme Court; suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Justice Kabiru Auta, Kano State High Court; Justice Adeniyi Ademola, Federal High Court, Abuja; former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division between Friday night and Saturday morning.