Law Professor Oyebode criticises SSS over arrest of judges

Akin Oyebode

Picture: Courtesy theagleonline.com
Akin Oyebode Picture: Courtesy theagleonline.com

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, has criticised the recent arrests of some judges accused of corrupt acts by operatives of the State Security Services, SSS.

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos, Tuesday, Mr. Oyebode said the Nigerian Police Force are the appropriate authority to have undertaken the task.

“I don’t believe breaking into homes at the dead of the night and arresting judges accused of corruption is part and parcel of the mandate of the DSS (another name for the SSS),” said Mr. Oyebode, Chairman of the Office of International Relations, Partnerships and Prospects, University of Lagos.

“The DSS is a security police to arrest attempts to overthrow the government of the day, treason, sedition, all those anti government acts. Whereas corrupt practice is under the jurisdiction, in my view, of the ICPC and EFCC.

“By no stretch of the imagination can the DSS be said to have it within its jurisdiction.”

An overnight assault on some senior judges in six states by the SSS late Friday and early Saturday resulted in the arrest of some judges.

Officials of the SSS had told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that the operation was ordered after months of investigation, during which the secret police established credibly that the affected judges were involved in questionable financial dealings.

The crackdown on the judges generated heated debates across the country and, once again, put Nigeria’s secret police’s mode of operation on the spotlight.

Of the 15 judges – from the High, Appeal, and the Supreme Court – said to be under investigation, seven were arrested during the weekend raid.

The seven were granted bail on Monday on self – recognition, with the SSS attributing their actions to a seeming lack of cooperation from the National Judicial Council, a body saddled with disciplining errant judges.

“I think it’s a sad day for Nigeria, because you don’t break the law in order to implement the law,” said Mr. Oyebode.

“Which is what the DSS seem to be saying, that because of the inaction or lack of cooperation by the NJC they had to resort to self-help.

“In fact, my gut reaction is that this might be the handiwork of fifth columnists, those that want to do in the government of Buhari.

“I’m not sure a Buhari who has touted himself as a born again democrat, welded to the notion of rule of law will authorise the outrageous act by the DSS.

“So either some people…misguided…who want to impress the powers that be by their work decided to go for broke in that respect. And I think it should be deprecated because there are so many rules of law that have been breached.

“And their subsequent comments, almost trying to try the accused in newspapers and what have you, because the accused have presumption of innocence and the onus of proof is on the state, and the onus is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

“You had given the impression that you have basis and reasons for what you did and you have not ensured that the public hears the side of the arrested persons, which is unfair.”

Mr. Oyebode said under the Nigerian Constitution, the task of discipline in the judiciary lays solely with the NJC who investigate and isolate the judge if found culpable.

“Now having separated the judge who had been found wanting in terms of his calling and judicial oath – you know there’s a judicial oath that judges swear when they are appointed, to do justice to all manner of persons without fear, affection or ill-will to be very neutral, non-partisan, fair to everybody, and not bend the scales of justice in favour of any accused person. That’s the judicial oath.

“So if any of them is found to have violated that oath, definitely he should be removed from the judiciary. The removal from the judiciary will lay the foundations for trial for any criminal act, say bribery and corruption .

“But the way things turned out, the DSS is the accuser, the jury, and almost the executioner. It’s not done.”


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  • Wilfred Bankole Ademokun

    Prof. Oyebode good talk, but not good enough for so NIGERIANS, we are fighting against a serious DORO VIRUS called DORO CORRUPTION in NIGERIA, and we will fight this virus with good anti virus vaccine before our children get contaminated. Prof. are you not ashamed of this nasty disease that these DORO BANDITS IN THE JUDICIARY SPREADING IN THE SYSTEM, please don’t GO against the wish of THE MASSES OF OUR BELOVED COUNTRY, WE VOTED FOR THIS GOVERNMENT TO WAGE WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION NOT TO IMPROVE ON CORRUPTION, SIR PROFESSOR OYEBODE, YOU ARE EXTREMELY GOOD AND ALSO YOU ARE A LOVER OF CORRUPTION IN THE JUDICIARY.

    • Gabriel Olasebikan

      Wlfred Bankole Ademolekun,if i may ask you,what is your position on the findings of the Commission Of Inquiry that investigated Amechi?

      • dami

        Jankara commission…of no value or competence whatsoever…a circus.

      • Wilfred Bankole Ademokun

        Let them forward their findings to the appropriate quarters, either EFCC, ICPC OR OTHER RELEVANT AGENCIES. THE VIRUS DORO CORRUPTION MUST DIE IN THIS COUNTRY.
        ROTISCO is not NIGERIA BUT NIGERIAN, IF HE STEALS ANY KOBO FROM THE TREASURY OF RIVER STATE GOVERNMENT, HE MUST FACE THE MUSIC, EITHER TO DANCE AKWETE OR JOROMI.

      • Nigerian Patriot

        Gabriel Olasebikan, if I may ask you – Is the Commission of Inquiry a court of law? If you are so confident of the findings on Amaechi – why don’t you go and test them in a court of law where these findings can be properly interrogated?

    • Michael

      The so called Professor, as with many of his ilk, does not really care about corruption and his view is at odds with that of Prof Itse Sagay the renowned jurist who said today the DSS was legally empowered to have arrested the judges. I’m more inclined to believe Prof Sagay than this Oyebode guy who I’ve heard on Channels and always sounds like a bit of a dimwit.

    • Lakeside

      You that you care so much about kwarraption…how has it changed the lives of ordinary Nigerians? Even the wealthy are crying. Every Nigerian’s financial net worth has been devalued by at least 60% in the last 15 months. Aliko Dangote’s net worth has reduced by more than GBP 4 Billion in the last 15 months according to Daily Mail. Yet your principal is fighting corruption and those close to him are more corrupt than even these judges. Two faced people! Hypocrites! No sincerity. Business as usual for friends while the enemies are attacked and harassed in the middle of the night. Meanwhile the economy is going down and down. Time to open book for ya.

  • Holy truth

    Professor oyebode, u said in ur view dat it was bad 4 d Dss to do their constitutionally backed duties of arresting dis corrupt judges which their corrupt practises could bring down dis govt. U said all these sir with no single reference to any particular place in Nigeria constitutions dat condemned d activities of d secret police 4 d arrest of corrupt judges.
    Professor, if u set questions in d exams in ur dept. in unilag about dis issue & ur students writes in their answers dat d actions of d Dss in their views were wrong without backing it with references to d constitutions of what makes their actions illegal or not. In my opinion based on what u just said prof makes me believe dat u will pass dem with credits.
    Dis is one d reasons Nigerian universities certificates are not worth more than tissue papers.
    I am highly disappointed in all dis Nigerian professors. Dis is d more reasons we having half-baked university graduates 4rm Nigerian universities.

    • Public Record

      Professor OYEBODE, no law was broken!….See the facts:

      “Look, it may interest you to know that one of the two Supreme Court judges in our custody has a property
      worth N1.5 billion in one of the South-South states. If we may ask, where did he get the money to set up such project? As far as we are concerned, there is nothing unusual in arresting corrupt judges and taking them
      to court because it would be an offence against the nation to continue to turn a blind eye to mounting corruption
      in the judiciary.

      “When we brought in most of the children, wives and relatives of the Judges based on the papers we
      got from the banks, they did not even have an idea that their names had been used by the judges to
      open such accounts. But you see under the Bank Verification Number, you must put in your passports,
      name, signature and others. So, for some of the judges, who used fake names and their wives names
      to open the accounts into which they paid in the proceeds of crime, they foolishly appended their
      signatures or used their pictures, something that gave them out.

      From what we found out, some of the suspects acted foolishly in committing the offence because they
      cannot prove that even if their children were to earn N1 million monthly since they were born till date,
      none of them can accumulate the amount of money we have traced to their accounts and the type
      of property they have.”

    • FEMI A USA

      He will grade them with Pass mark without checking their Thesis, Reference because they are good looking students and their parents are Judges.

  • Owenz

    Akin Oyebode, you just lost my respect.

    • FEMI A USA

      Lawyers in Nigeria are basket of deplorable.

    • Lakeside

      Damn! Who are you? What respect have you got? Tell the forum. otherwise keep quiet.

    • Etomi

      Id1ot equating his idiocy with the cerebrum of a revered professor….

      You think law is Manchester United vs Arsenal..

      Didinrin!

    • Owenz

      @Etomi,@Lakeside, the Nigerian ship is powered by stupidity, corruption, or
      prejudice.

  • shitta kunle

    Pro,with due respect I disagree with u.

  • FEMI A USA

    Oyebode is defending one of their own. The Judges can take a bribe on behalf of few members of the society? What is illegal thinking. Please should you care so much try to commit crime in United States and hoping to be invited by FBI or law enforcements to beckon on you to appear in their office. The Judges, Police and Lawyers are evil conniving on corruptions and other crimes in Nigeria society. The Law is the Law we should all obey it either we like it or not and there should be no exception to anyone. They should Thank their luck star that they are not in China, North Korea, Indonesia and others where they would face firing squad. These people are person of interest to Law enforcement officers and they aught to be nabbed as soon as possible for investigations. “Changes begin With Them” Please remember that there is/are ignorance in Law breaking and only Laws will can live it. Nigeria has to clean house with somewhere like NASS, Executive, and Judiciary. Some people celebrate criminality (Obasanjo) and for some Professors of Laws so far they benefit from crimes (Crimes Pay). It’s the Law people.

  • Great and cerebral analysis. With patriots like our dear professor, there is hope for our nation. This calamity is what you get from a mediocre that doesn’t understand the basics of democracy. We’ll hold Buhari responsible for this rubbish. Buhari must be removed from office for this crass breach of the law. We call on the NASS to begin impeachment proceedings against Buhari to save our democracy.

    • Karl Imom

      Tell us which laws are broken here? You live in the United States, right? Are sting operations in the United States carried out by Police or FBI? The so-called professor might be a fake professor. You do not NEED any law degree to know that DSS has just done what secret service agencies do all over the world – in major democracies. The law clearly specifies that the, with a search warrant, the search can be conducted any time of the day. Under the Constitution, all Nigerians are equal, regardless of whether they are judges, students, or peasants. That judges should be treated different from the rest of Nigerians is nonsense!!

      • We hope buhari will be man enough to return the $2.8 billions that vanished from nnpc account and traced to his personal account during his time at nnpc.

        • Ologbon

          Please research the $2.8billions brouhaha again. You don’t seem to get it at all! It is not just enough to just throw in uninformed assertions.

      • So buhari is above the the law? Right? Buhari accepted stolen or looted money from the looters to finance his election. Who is fooling who? Let’s have a trial and a conviction. No prejudgment. That’s too much to ask in buhari’s gulag.

        • Karl Imom

          Arrest him if you feel he has committed any crimes and stop baby-crying, petty swine! How you try him is your business. Who cares how corrupt judges are tried?

      • jayjay

        Please check your dictionary to know what a sting operation is.

    • blow fissh

      A corrupt judge is not only a threat to justice and the rule of law but to the society and the nation. A corrupt judge is more dangerous than a kidnapper or an armed robber. The worst form of corruption is judicial corruption. – Inibehe Effiong

      • There is a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise in a civilized society. Buhari is the accuser and the judge. Buhari has found them guilty even without trial. What a shame. Only in a banana republic.

        • Charlie

          The judges were arrested and released on bail by the SSS, they were not removed from office. They can go back to their jobs if they want. It now for the NJC to investigate them for and further disciplinary actions , which may result in removal or suspension before or after trial. No nation can survive two separate standards of justice, one for judicial elites and one for rest of society.
          In America, which constitution we copied judges are arrested by the FBI everyday and Obama is never accused of violating the constitution, because the accused judges (federal) can only be removed by Congress not by the FBI. We have to take what the likes of the professor say with a grain of salt, because many of them are doing their obligatory defense of their friends on pages of newspapers.

          • Let NJC do their job without buhari meddling. Buhari shouldn’t be the judge and the executioner.

          • Dodondawa

            NJC is a useless body made up of corrupt and useless Nigerians. Can’t protect the interest of Nigeria.

      • Etomi

        Shut your trap, dick!

    • ola

      And if they don’t , what would you do

  • blow fissh

    A corrupt judge is more dangerous than a kidnapper or an armed robber. The worst form of corruption is judicial corruption. – Inibehe Effiong

    Law Professor Oyebode will qualify has the keeper of the guns and bullets for the armed robbers.

  • Etomi

    Let that hopeless 1diot Jiti Ogunye and that apology Itse Sagay, who have sold their birthright for a morsel of bread, for which they are enabling tyranny, authoritarianism and the death of democracy in Nigeria, answer my learned Professor!

  • thusspokez

    The DSS is a security police to arrest attempts to overthrow the government of the day, treason, sedition, all those anti government acts. Whereas corrupt practice is under the jurisdiction, in my view, of the ICPC and EFCC.

    Very true, but try telling that to the mumu Nigerian cheerleaders who believe that undermining the Nigerian constitution is the price to pay for fighting corruption.

  • Charlie

    The judges were arrested and released on bail by the SSS, they were not removed from office. They can go back to their jobs if they want. It now for the NJC to investigate them for and further disciplinary actions , which may result in removal or suspension before or after trial. No nation can survive two separate standards of justice, one for judicial elites and one for rest of society.
    In America, which constitution we copied judges are arrested by the FBI everyday and Obama is never accused of violating the constitution, because the accused judges (federal) can only be removed by Congress not by the FBI. We have to take what the likes of the professor say with a grain of salt, because many of them are doing their obligatory defense of their friends on pages of newspapers.

    • Konyesilifu

      Charlie, I am with you. But in all honesty would you expect any one of these grace-to-grass judges to go an sit on a bench to judge you or me? That would be clumsy wouldn’t it?

  • JasV

    What a disgrace. No wonder!!! With Professors such as this, how can you expect to have judges they trained as lawyers not to be corrupt? Let me tell you dunce of a professor, historical definition of treason is murdering someone to whom the murderer owes allegiance and in law it is the crime of betraying one’s country. Now, has the action of these hopeless judges not amount to betrayal of the oath they took to the country? Should they not be investigated corrupt professor producer of corrupt lawyers and judges? Why do we have civil arrest? In my view, investigation and arrest can be carried out by relevant security agency while prosecution and trial are handed over to relevant bodies. You of course know how corrupt ridden our Police is which is why you advocate that they should have been the ones to do what DSS has done. FORGET IT. NOT UNDER THE WATCH OF THIS GOVERNMENT. WE ARE COMING FOR YOU BECAUSE YOUR ROLE IN ALL THIS MESS IS VERY WELL KNOWN.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Prof, I couldn’t agree less with you. Those criminals parading themselves as Judges deserve whatever treatment they get. I opine that they should be summarily executed for unpardonable betrayal of public trust.

  • Konyesilifu

    Professor, please think again. Get the relevant statutory instruments and read them again. Anyway your grouse appears to be that SSS carried out the exercise and not the police? What is the point? If the police did it, it’s fine but not otherwise? Prof!!!. Come down from your academic ivory tower please.

  • Dodondawa

    Oga Oyebode, you are dead wrong on this one. Are you saying Nigeria Police should investigate the rogue judges? Abi I no understand you. Which police? Once the investigation commences, the judges would ensure that the bribes are channeled through the police who would take their own cut. Nigeria police is the most useless and hopeless police department in the universe. The high ranking officers of the department are all graduates of college of corruption. Oga, much as you are entitiled to your opinion, I would respectfully counsel you in this instance to stop defending the indefensible.