Supreme Court Judges Accused of Corruption, Step Down
Two judges of the Supreme Court who are presently facing charges of corruption have reportedly stopped sitting.
This was confirmed Monday by the spokesperson of Nigeria’s Supreme Court, Ahuraka Isah, who made the disclosure in a chat with Premium Times.
The affected judges – Iyang Okoro and Sylvester Nguta – were among seven judges arrested by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), in a sweeping raid on some officials of the judiciary earlier this month.
According to Mr. Isah, who speaks for the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, the Supreme Court judges already suspended sittings since the raid on their homes and their subsequent arrest.
“None of the judges whose houses were raided and arrested by the SSS have been suspended by the NJC,” the spokesperson said.
“But the two affected Supreme Court justices voluntarily recused themselves from all judicial functions since the raid occurred.”
This decision is in line with the recommendations of the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, who advised that the accused judges be suspended pending when they are cleared or convicted.
Though the affected judges have denied any wrongdoing, claiming victimisation for previous stands they took against public officials, the SSS has maintained that their arrest followed credible information about the judges’ alleged involvement in bribery and other financial crimes.
Furthermore, the SSS also accused the National Judicial Council (NJC) of paying lip service to petitions against corrupt judges, charges the NJC vehemently denied.
The crackdown on the judiciary has been on the front burner of national discourse, with various groups giving divergent opinions about the action of the DSS.
While some groups commended the arrests, others have condemned it, saying it portended great danger for the nation’s democracy.
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