It is official: Nigeria Supreme Court judges accused of corruption step down

Nigerian Judges
Nigerian Judges used to illustrate the story

The spokesperson of Nigeria’s Supreme Court, Ahuraka Isah, on Monday confirmed reports that two Supreme Court judges accused of corruption have stopped sitting.

The two judges, Iyang Okoro and Sylvester Nguta, were among seven judges arrested by operatives of the State Security Service, following allegations of corruption.

In a telephone chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Isah, who speaks for the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, said the Supreme Court judges suspended sittings since the raid on their homes and their subsequent arrest.

“None of the judges whose houses were raided and arrested by the SSS have been suspended by the NJC,” the spokesperson said. “But the two affected Supreme Court justices voluntarily recused themselves from all judicial functions since the raid occurred.”

Seven judges were on October 7 arrested by the SSS following allegations of corruption.

While the affected judges have denied any wrongdoing, claiming victimisation for previous stands they took against public officials, the SSS said their arrest followed credible information about the judges’ alleged involvement in bribery and corruption allegations.

The SSS also accused the National Judicial Council of not judiciously treating petitions against corrupt judges. The NJC denied the allegation by the SSS.

Various groups have given divergent opinions about the raids and arrest of the judges. While some have commended the arrests, others have accused the executive of interfering with the judiciary by the arrests.

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However, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, had advised that the accused judges be suspended pending when they are cleared or convicted.

The NJC rejected Mr. Mahmoud’s advice.

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