The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded the immediate release of arrested judges over allegation of corruption by the Department of State Security (DSS).
In a statement signed by Comrade Joe Ajaero, factional President of NLC, it stated that “we think that the best way to go in this debacle is that the Federal Government should immediately release the illegally arrested judges and then allow the due process of removing them from the Bench which precedents abound in Nigeria in the recent past.
“With this, this government will show its willingness to correct itself whenever mistakes are made and contain quickly the general outrage which has greeted this perceived affront on democracy and governance in general that is if we are serious about reducing corruption in the judiciary.
“We urge this government as we have always insisted that it must carry out its operations bearing in mind the sensitive nature and character of the nation’s demography. It ought to avoid anything that would cause the people to read primordial intentions to its activities especially when fighting something as hydra-headed as corruption. It must therefore be very transparent and strictly in adherence to the statutes of the land.
“This way, its actions will be above board and beyond reproach but in this case, Congress does not believe that the DSS has done a tidy job and exercised enough caution in executing these arrests.”
The statement further stated that Nigerian workers who largely have borne the brunt of the forces of corruption insist that since the Government seems to have established a prima facie case against the judges as alleged, “they should face prosecution in the court but that is after they have been released and due processes followed to bring them back to answer for their perceived crimes. This must not be allowed to go the way of other allegations in the past. Nigerian workers want to see diligent prosecution and convictions!
“Finally, we reiterate our earlier stand that corruption is evil and we welcome any measure within the ambits of the law necessary for its eradication wherever it is found. We advise however that we must not desecrate our laws just because we want to arrest judges. This effort must not be misinterpreted by the people to mean an attempt to conquer the judiciary and make it a rubber stamp of the Executive. This will be dangerous not only for the nation but for the Government itself.”
It may be recalled that seven judges were arrested by DSS officials in a sting operations at the weekend over allegations of fraud leveled against two Supreme Court Justices and five High Court judges.