The Senate has condemned the invasion of the Abuja home of Supreme Court Justice, Mary Peter-Odili, by operatives of security agencies.
It also asked the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, to make public all findings of the panel he had set up to investigate the raid.
These were part of the recommendations adopted after the lawmakers deliberated on a Point of Order raised by Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers West) during plenary.
Coming under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, the senator moved a motion on the “Urgent need to investigate the invasion of Justice Mrs. Odili’s residence by security agents.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported how some unknown security operatives raided Ms Odili’s Abuja residence on October 29 – an operation which lasted for hours.
Ms Odili is the second most senior judicial officer in Nigeria being the next in rank to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed.
Both the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the IGP had separately denied authorising the raid or having knowledge of it.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the State Security Services (SSS), both of which were also linked to the invasion, had denied involvement.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had said relevant authorities’ denials of involvement in the raid were unsatisfactory and vowed to make sure the perpetrators are brought to book.
Although the IGP had directed the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to conduct a discreet investigation into the incident, the Senate has demanded that every discovery be made public.
In her motion, Ms Apiafi explained that a joint panel recovery unit of the Ministry of Justice – comprising of EFCC, the Nigerian Police and the Ministry of Justice, sought a search warrant from an FCT Magistrate “after a so called whistleblower claimed to have observed illegal activities allegedly going on in a house at Imo street, Maitama.”
She said though the IGP claims some arrests have been made and investigations are still ongoing, details of such arrest have not been made public 11 days after the incident.
On his part, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti), who chairs the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, said no member of the Senate “was at ease hearing the news of what happened.”
He said Ms Apiafi’s motion represents the collective desire of members of the National Assembly in ensuring that the government takes appropriate steps to bring to book all those found culpable.
Doing so would send a clear signal on the need to respect the sanctity of the judiciary and to also protect judicial officers in Nigeria, whose rights under the law must be protected.
George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East), reminded the Senate that Ms Odili’s Port Harcourt residence was also invaded some months ago.
“Several reasons were given why thugs invaded the house. I don’t want to mention the reasons, so it does not bring in controversy.
“Recently, as the motion said, the house in Abuja was also invaded… After a struggle, the security agents that invaded the place left the residence.
“They claimed to have brought a warrant from a magistrate court in Abuja. They claimed the Minister of Justice was aware of it. There are several claims.
“…My problem is this, oftentimes, things happen and then police investigate and, in most cases, we don’t get the result of the investigation. I pray that this investigation comes to limelight.”
The lawmakers, thereafter, condemned the invasion of the home of Ms Odili and hoped that the outcome of the investigation ordered by the IGP will be made public.