The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has warned that the judiciary will resist future attacks on its officials.
The CJN made the assertion during the special court session to mark the 2021/2022 New Legal Year and the inauguration of 72 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
There was nationwide outrage when armed men, believed to be security operatives invaded the Abuja residence of the second most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili, on Friday October 29, 2021.
The breach was similar to the October 2016 raids on residences of judges of courts across the country by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) over allegations of corruption.
Justice Muhammad said the judiciary has now had enough of “such dosage of invasions” and would no longer take “such shenanigans”.
“By the nature of our work, we are conservative but not conquered species and should not be pushed further than this by the government,” he said.
“With time, those taking the judiciary as mere weakling, will soon realise that it is from the calmest seas we often experience the fiercest storms. The time to oppress, suppress and intimidate judicial officers is gone.
“No one, irrespective of his or her status or position in the country should test our will because the consequences of such unwarranted provocation will be too dire to bear.
“We shall begin to resist any clandestine attempt to silence or ridicule us to oblivion. Nigeria, to the best of my knowledge, is not a lawless society. We should begin to do things that will project us favourably and rightly, too, to the international community. No law permits anyone to invade, subdue or overawe any Nigerian citizen in his or her residence with a flimsy, fraudulently obtained search warrant.”
The CJN informed that the new direction on search warrants now requires their approval by the chief judge of the state.
Also in their speeches, the chairman of Body of Benchers, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), and President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, called for the prosecution of suspects arrested in connection with the invasion of Justice Odili’s residence.
“It is not enough that some people have be arrested; Nigerians must know who they are,” Awomolo said.
Akpata said the bar could not fold its hands and watch the desecration of the Bench.
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