By Charles Kumolu, Wahab Abdullah & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-ekiti—GOVERNOR Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and a legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, described the arrest of judges by the Department of State Service, DSS, as an affront on the independence of the judiciary.
The duo, who said the situation portends grave danger for Nigeria’s democracy, said if judges could be arrested by the DSS, nobody is safe.
This came as members of the human rights and anti-corruption groups, held a peaceful protest, yesterday in Lagos, urging the arrested judges to resign from their respective positions to allow prosecution.
The groups, which were led by Comrades Desmond Abiola and Kola Salau, grounded vehicular activities in Alausa, Ikeja during the peaceful procession.
Salau, who made the group’s position known, said it was hypocritical for some people to have described what the DSS did as a clampdown on the judiciary.
However, Fayose in his condemnation of the development, said: “I am particularly glad about what is happening today, because the judicial officers had not done enough to checkmate the executive. I had earlier raised the alarm that something like this will happen, so the current predicament of these judges will teach a lesson that nobody is safe from harassment in Nigeria.”
On his part, Babalola said: “I am particularly saddened by the arrests. How can they be so treated like criminals? The fact that the DSS released the judges the next day showed that they did not evade arrest. Why should they humiliate them in the first instance? It is a trite law that process arrest warrant, they should not have gone on midnight raid of the houses of the judges.”
Similarly, the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, at a briefing yesterday in Lagos, described the development as infantile, illegal and unconstitutional.
Founder of the group, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, who briefed newsmen said: “I condemn this Gestapo-styled invasion of the private homes of Nigerian judges.”
He further called on the National Assembly to summon the Director General of DSS for questioning on the matter.