Judges’ arrest: Court strikes out suit against Buhari, AGF, SSS

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A Federal High Court on Wednesday struck out a suit brought before it against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation over the arrest and detention of some federal judges in 2016.

Also joined in the suit, which was filed by an Abakaliki, Ebonyi State based Lawyer, Onu John, are the State Security Service (DSS), Inspector-General of Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The houses of some judges of the Supreme Court, Appeal Court and High Court in various parts of the country were raided by the SSS in 2016 while the officials were subsequently arrested and charged to court.

In protest, Mr. Onwe filed a suit at Abakaliki Federal High Court in February 2017.

President Buhari, IGP, SSS, Police, EFCC and NJC, who were joined in the suit all responded by filling their affidavits and counter-affidavits.

Mr. Onwe in the suit said the invasion of the judges homes and their subsequent arrest and detention was a violation of the constitution of the Federal Repubic of Nigeria.

Mr. Onwe claimed the action against the judges had made his job insecure as a lawyer and ”has also dwindled legal services in the country”.

But delivering judgment on the suit, the presiding judge, Akintola Aluko, said Mr. Onwe has no locus standi to institute the suit against the president and the agencies as according to the court, ”he was not the one arrested”.

The court noted that the lawyer had not convinced the court how the arrest and detention of the judges ”has put his job in jeopardy”.

The court however commended Mr. Onwe for his interest in the matter but cautioned that ”there must be adherence to the rule of law in such a suit”.

Reacting, Mr. Onwe said he will appeal the ruling.

“We will be obtaining the court proceedings and after studying it, we will take further action. Not that we derive anything tangentially from it but the record must be put straight. This will actually be determined by the appelette court whether we have the locus standi,” he said after the judgement.

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