Protesters storm court, demand judges’ prosecution

Ramon Oladimeji

A group of protesters under the aegis of Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Coalition stormed the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Oyinka Abayomi Drive, on Wednesday, demanding the prosecution of the seven judges arrested over the weekend for alleged corruption.

Speaking through their leader, Desmond Abiona, the protesters declared their solidarity with the Department of State Services for arresting the judges and condemned those who termed the DSS action as an attack on the judiciary.

Abiona alleged that the arrested judges had already sponsored a group of protesters to march against the DSS and launch cyberspace war but he called on the public to watch out for them.

Abiona said the DSS had exposed the rot in the judiciary, which had eroded the gains of Nigeria’s democracy.

He said he and his colleagues were disappointed that members of the public, who were victims of corruption, were still being fooled to believe that the action of the DSS was an attack on the judiciary.

He said, “We are sad to discover that the democracy we thought we had for almost two decades was a farce — the judiciary that is a crucial arm of government, that should be the last recourse of the common man is a bigger problem than what we had hoped it would solve for us.

“We mourn because they (arrested judges) were still able to get gullible citizens that are fighting for them by condemning the sequence of events and the process of their arrests.

“Suddenly, arrests that were executed with valid warrants are being criticised by the same people who have been short-changed by rogue judges all their lives. It is simply inconceivable.

“A few people might have bought into the lies that there is a clampdown on the judiciary to make it pliable to the executive arm but we challenge those that have been indicted or arrested to dare come to equity with clean hands.”

He said the group had uncovered the alleged sponsored protests by the arrested judges, and challenged the judges to prove their cases.

He said, “In the coming days, we are aware that these corrupt judges have commissioned agents to recruit youths to hold protests at which their covert spokespersons will lay the allegation of witch-hunt. We, however, want to clearly set out here that arrest of judges, or anyone found to have been corrupt is not with-hunt, it is not politics and definitely it is not clampdown on freedom.”

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