Lawyer Slams N50bn Suit On Buhari, AGF And DSS Over Arrested Judges

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A Lagos-based activist and legal practitioner, Mr. Olukoya
Ogungbeje has filed a N50 billion suit against President Muhammadu Buhari, the
Department of State Services (DSS) and its Director-General, Lawal Daura over
alleged violation of the rights of some judges whose houses were raided  and arrested between October 8 and 9, 2016.

Other defendants named in the suit are Attorney-General of
the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Inspector-General of
Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the National Judicial Council (NJC). Ogungbeje
alleged that the clampdown and arrest, without recourse to the NJC, was
unlawful and amounted to humiliating them.
He said the DSS operation violated the rights of judges
under sections 33, 34, 35, 36, and 41 of the 1999 Constitution. Among others,
he seeks  an order awarding N50 billion
against the defendants as “general and exemplary damages.”
He also sought to be awarded N2m as the cost of the suit.
He also sought an order compelling the DSS to return to the
judges the sums of money recovered from them.
He also sought perpetual injunction restraining the
defendants from arresting, inviting, intimidating, or harrassing the judges
with respect to the case.
The DSS had, between Friday and Saturday, arrested Justices
Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro of the Supreme Court; Justice Adeniyi Ademola
of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Justice Muazu 
Pindiga of the Federal High
Court, Gombe Division.
Justice Nnnamdi Dimgba’s residence was also searched but he
was not arrested.
Others who were arrested had been placed on suspension by
the NJC pending the President Buhari and their various state governors would
approve its recommendation for their sacking.
They are a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A.
Umezulike, the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division,
Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; and judge of the Kano State High Court, Justice
Kabiru Auta.
The DSS said it recovered large sums of money in Nigerian
and  foreign currencies from three of the
judges during the raid on the houses of the seven judicial officers.
All the seven of them had since been released on self
recognition by the DSS.
But Ogungbeje’s suit is restricted to five of the arrested
judges who are still in active service, namely, Justices Ngwuta, Okoro,
Ademola, Pindiga and Dimgba.
The plaintiff contended in his suit that the raid on the
residences of the judges and their arrest was unconstitutional.

He maintained that the arrest of the judges did not follow
the law.

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