In another show of executive lawlessness, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the State Security Service, SSS, also known as DSS, have restricted the movement of about 15 judges to the country, The Nation reports.
According to the report, the affected judges cannot travel out of Nigeria unless they are permitted by a court. Only two of the judges have charges filed against them by the Muhammadu Buhari government and none of the justices have been arrested by the police or EFCC.
Two justices of the Supreme Court are affected by the travel ban – Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro – whose homes were unlawfully raided in a mid-night operation by operatives of the secret police late in October.
Also affected are former presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya; Justice Adeniyi Ademola (Federal High Court); the ex-chief judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court; Justice Muazu Pindiga (Gombe State High Court).
Others are Justice Bashir Sukola and Justice Ladan Manir, from the Kaduna State High Court; Justice Agbadu James Fishim (National Industrial Court); Justice Uwani Abba Aji Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa, Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa; Musa Haruna Kurya; and Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia (Federal High Court).
Out of the judges, the NJC has recommended sanctions for Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya; the erstwhile Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; and Justice Kabiru Auta.
“All the security agencies and the Nigerian Immigration Service have been notified that the affected judges are undergoing investigation. The implication is that they cannot go out of the country except permitted to do so,” a source told the newspaper.
“Actually, many of the judges have had their passports either seized or kept in custody of investigating agencies.
“The restriction is to make the ongoing investigation easier. As a matter of fact, some of them have been reporting intermittently or in some cases daily for questioning to either the EFCC or the DSS. It is not a punitive action but it is a way of facilitating investigation.
“For instance, we have had instances when detectives followed Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia to inspect some assets in Delta and Edo States. If she had been abroad, they won’t be able to do so.
“We are tracking many assets of some of these judges and this exercise requires verification and updated interrogation.
“But as soon as they are arraigned in court for trial, their bail will be at the discretion of the court.”