The State Security Service has released all the judges arrested during a nationwide sweep between Friday and Saturday. Their release came after many Nigerians, Nigerian Bar Association, activists among other bodies who believe that the gestapo style of arrest was unlawful and criminal.
Sources in the agency said all the seven judges were released on self-recognition.
“They were all released on bail yesterday(Sunday) on self recognition,” one of our sources said.
“They reported this morning (Monday) and they have all gone back home. They will be coming back tomorrow. And everything went very procedurally well and civil.
“They were released on bail on self recognition based on the fact that given their standing in the society, they cannot run away. They were instructed that they should come back today by 10am.
“They did report for investigation this morning and they have gone back home. And the investigation continues and preparation to charge them to court continued.”
The source added, “Also, action was sequel to lack of cooperation by National Judicial Council. Such as refusal by the NJC to allow the affected persons to be questioned by the DSS. Investigation started some seven months ago, precisely in April 2016.”
The crackdown has continued to generate mixed reactions across the country.
Meanwhile, the head of Nigeria’s judiciary, Mahmud Mohammed, has described the mode of arrest of seven judges as “deeply regrettable.”
The judges were arrested between Friday night and Saturday morning.
Speaking at a valedictory session for Justice Suleiman Galadima of the Supreme Court in Abuja, Mr. Mohammed urged Nigerians to pray for the country.
“It is indeed very saddening and deeply regrettable, the distressing and unfortunate incident which occurred on Friday 7 October and Saturday 8 October, 2016,” he said.
The Chief Justice said an emergency meeting of the National Judicial Council, “which will take place tomorrow, will comprehensively look into the matter.”
“Furthermore, I must express my sincere appreciation to the executive of the Nigerian Bar Association ably led by the President, Abubakar Mahmoud and indeed all members of the legal profession for their prompt action and continued support,” he said.
The arrested judges by the SSS include John Okoro and Sylvester Nguta of the Supreme Court, Namdi Dimgba and Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabiru Auta, from Kano; Muazu Pindiga in Gombe, and a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Umezulike.
An SSS official had said that the agency could commence the prosecution of the judges from today.