Mohammed And The DSS Sting Operation | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Mohammed And The DSS Sting Operation

Posted: Oct 17, 2016 at 10:43 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Magnus Ugwubujor

After the sting operation by operatives of the Department of the State Service (DSS) recently that saw to the arrest of Seven Judges, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Mohammed has condemned the incident describing it as saddening, distressing and deeply regrettable.

Already the members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) are divided on their stance on the legality of the Judges’ arrest by the DSS. Many of the legal practitioners who have learnt their voices on the issue have argued that the DSS does not have the statutory mandate to investigate cases of corruption when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the police, are there to do such job. The core mandate of the DSS is that of internal and national security. Meanwhile the President of the NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), had urged the lawyers to speak with one voice on the issue.

The CJN had also commended the executives of the NBA for their stance and support. On the one hand, some of the analysts have maintained that the way these Judges were arrested undermines the independence of the judiciary and ridicules the judges in question. They aver that such occurrence is capable of eroding the public confidence on the judiciary. The National Judicial Council (NJC) has the responsibility to discipline any erring member of the bench as well as recommend judges for investigation by the appropriate agency.

On the other hand, commentators who support the operation of the DSS argue that the arrest of the judges is purely an attack on corruption rather than the judiciary. Some analysts have also stated that the NJC is purely administrative and does not possess the power to prosecute. More so, they affirm that corruption in the judiciary has been going on for long. As such, there has been a lot of pervasion of justice and desecration of our legal system for so long. For them, the CJN and the NJC have been so slow to do the needful to sanitise the bench considering its importance to national development. Therefore, somebody had to take a hard and drastic decision to put things right. Besides, there are also arguments that issues of corruption are directly linked to security; so the DSS as a security agency can investigate anybody from the different arms of government when it has enough reasons to do so from their investigations.

However, as it is, Nigerians are watching to see the path the CJN would take to address the situation in the coming days.