Tiamiyu Prudence Arobani
The Department of State Services (DSS) has released on bail, seven judges it arrested on Friday and Saturday in sting operations, a DSS source has said.
The source told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that the judges were released on self-recognition.
The seven justices are from the Supreme, Appeal and High courts, who were arrested at the weekend for alleged corruption.
They are John Okoro and Sylvester Nguta of the Supreme Court and a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Umezulike.
Others are Namdi Dimgba and Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabiru Auta, from Kano; Muazu Pindiga of Federal High Court in Gombe.
“They were all released on bail Sunday, on self- recognisance”, said a DSS source.
“The judges reported on Monday and they have all gone back home. They will be coming back on Tuesday and everything went very procedurally well and civil.
“They were released on bail on self -recognisance based on the fact that given their standing in the society, they cannot run away,” the DSS source said.
The source said the judges were instructed to come back on Monday at 10 a.m., adding they did report for investigation this morning and they have gone back home.
According to the source, the investigation of corruption levelled against the judges continues as well as preparation to charge them to court.
The source added that the arrest of the top judicial officers was a result of the lack of cooperation by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to allow for their questioning.
“The 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 source added.
The monies recovered after the sting operations included N93,558,000, $530,087, £25,970 and €5,680, Mr Abdullahi Garba of DSS, said in a statement.
NAN reports that the Presidency, while reacting to the arrest, has said that the DSS action was not against the judiciary but against corruption.(NAN)
Garba denied that the Service invited Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen for investigation.
According to him, Justice Onnoghen is not being investigated by the Service.
The Service, he said, has tremendous respect for the Judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday said the operation was saddening.