THE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, on Wednesday, warned security operatives against embarrassing judicial officers, adding that the judiciary would not take kindly if there is a repeat of any ugly treatment from security operatives.
The CJN, while speaking during a special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2021/2022 legal year of the Supreme Court and the inauguration of the 72 newly appointed Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), warned that the silence of the judiciary should never be mistaken for weakness.
Justice Muhammad said: “On a sad note, I must say, we were jolted with the embarrassing news of the invasion of the official residence of Justice Mary Peter Odili, on Friday, October 29 by men suspected to be security operatives, acting on a search warrant obtained from an Abuja Magistrates’ Court under questionable circumstances.
“I must make it known to all and sundry that we have had enough dosage of such harassment of our judicial officers across the country and we can no longer take any of such shenanigans.
“The silence of the judiciary should never be mistaken for stupidity or weakness. By the nature of our work, we are conservative but not conquered species and should not be pushed further than this by any individual, institution or agency of the government.
“With time, those taking the judiciary as a 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.
“No law permits anyone to invade, subdue or overawe any Nigerian citizen in his or her residence with a flimsy and fraudulently obtained search warrant.
“We are making efforts now to ensure that henceforth, every search or arrest warrant must be issued with the knowledge and approval of the Chief Judge of the respective state or federal high court as the case may be”, the CJN said.
Speaking on behalf of the body of SANs, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo called for the upward review of salaries and allowances of judicial officers, even as he called for maximum security for judicial officers.
While calling on the Inspector-General of Police to fish out and arraign those responsible for the invasion of the house of Justice Mary Peter-Odili, Awomolo urged the CJN to stamp his feet in ensuring the independence of the judiciary.
Muhammad, while swearing-in 72 legal practitioners recently elevated to the rank of SAN, admonished them to forge ahead with the right mindset and disposition to attain more impactful results.
He said the Supreme Court, and by extension, the Nigerian judiciary had fared well in the outgone legal year even though the horizon was roughened by overwhelming challenges.
“As this new legal year unfolds, we will like to assure you that we are determined to work assiduously to evolve a judiciary that will remarkably be the pride of Nigerians, home and abroad.
“I must say with pride and exhilaration that during the outgone year, we experienced so many positive heartwarming developments in the Nigerian judiciary.”
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