That Seeming Rogue Invasion of Justice Odili’s House: Impunity Taken Too Far

Five years ago, in October 2016, the Department of State Services under Lawal Daura, had in a fashion reminiscent of armed robbery attack invaded the homes of some Nigerian Judges at night in Abuja.
Nigerian woke up the next morning to hear and read shocking stories of the midnight invasion of two Supreme Court Justices, Sylvanus Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro and four Federal High Court Judges namely, Muazu Pindiga, Ademola Adeniyi, Abdullahi Liman and Nnamdi Dimgba private residences.
It was obviously a strange phenomenon as such had never been witnessed in the democratic history of the nation. Consequently, it was trailed by copious outrage and wide condemnation.
However, the presidency struggled to paint that seeming lawless impunity in an altruistic light by linking it to its war on corruption. Shehu Garba who spoke for the executive said in a statement that the raid was on alleged corrupt judges, insisting that it was corruption, not judiciary that is under attack.
While some people bought into his argument, a good percentage of citizens vehemently disagreed, alleging it was politically motivated attempt to intimidate, cow and pocket the third arm of government.
Today, the seeming roughish invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s Abuja residence by unidentified security operatives, appears to have conferred credibility on the allegation that apparent brazen and lawless raids and invasion of homes of judges is being fuelled political interests.
For instance it is been said that the invasion of Odili’s house is part of the plot to stop her as second in command from succeeding retiring Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Tanko.
However, whether that is true or not does not in any way detract from the fact that unwarranted, lawless and anti democratic siege on Justice Odili amounts to impunity taken too far.
The operators of the executive arm of government should be told in unmistaken terms that being a democracy, Nigeria must abide by its universal ethos and principles which, by the way are copiously reflected in the 1999 constitution as amended.
In that constitution under reference separation of powers and duties as well as the independence of the three arms of government is enshrined and made sacrosanct.
It also clearly mandated that all including heads of these arms shall be subject to it, and also should carry out their functions strictly in accordance to its provisions.
Based on that the expectations are that any arm of government which at any point in time felt a wrong or crime has been committed by another arm or individual within it should resort to the laws to seek redress, instead of resorting to self help or brazen show of power.
Quite unfortunately, it seems key actors in the Buhari government relish show of hence the seeming daily reckless and lawless flexing of muscle. While time and space may not permit the listing of litany of such infractions, we strongly feel President Buhari should quickly arrest the rampaging monster before it crashes this democracy.
To start with the president should openly join Nigerians in condemning the shameful national embarrassment.
He should also go further in this regard ensuring that those who unleashed the impunity are rounded up and made the face the law, to serve as deterrant to would be actors.
Nigeria democracy is being endangered by impunity, just as its image is being seriously dented at the international stage. To salvage he must rise above partisan and ethnic cleavages and squarely address the menace before it completely derails this democracy.

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