Illegal raid carried out by security agencies at the Abuja residence of a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mary Odili has been condemned by the House of Representatives.
Recall that a joint team of security operatives invaded the judge’s home to execute an illegal search warrant as part of investigations into her husband, Peter Odili, who is a former Governor of Rivers State.
The security operatives, who were made up of soldiers and officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), were identified as members of a Joint Task Force.
The security operatives, who came with a search warrant, said they received information on “illegal activities” going on in the house.
However, the House Committee on Judiciary has demanded an immediate probe into the siege laid to the residence of the Supreme Court judge.
In a statement on Sunday by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Onofiok Luke, the investigation will help to identify the security operatives behind the illegal raid.
Luke stated that the invasion of the residence of Justice Odili was an action capable of setting the Executive and Judicial arms of government on a warpath.
The statement reads: “It is mind-boggling that in the dusk of 29 October 2021, the Judiciary was once again exposed to public opprobrium, due to the uncanny manner in which the residence of the Honourable Justice Mary Peter-Odili of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, was invaded by law enforcement officials purportedly on an assignment to execute a search warrant, issued by a Magistrate.
“Also disturbing is the fact that the said warrant was revoked by the issuing Magistrate who had discovered that it was procured by the Applicant on the premises of misrepresented facts.
“As a Committee currently interfacing with the Judiciary for an improved judicial reform and justice system, we wish to lend our voice once again, to the repeated call by His Lordship; the Honourable Justice Tanko Muhammed CJN, on all Judicial Officers on the need to exercise more caution in issuing ex-parte, conflicting and questionable orders that are capable of bringing disrepute to our Justice system.
“This unfortunate development is also a wake-up call to tighten administrative and supervisory control over the operations of law enforcement agencies in the country. To this end, we empathize with the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation who is constitutionally accountable for the actions and inactions of the law enforcement agents that purportedly executed the said warrant, placing on the AGF, the unavoidable burden of defending his office before the populace.
“On this note, the House of Representative Committee on the Judiciary calls for a discreet investigation to unravel the persons behind this ignoble act, which is capable of straining the existing relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive arms of our democratic government.”
Luke said that the siege was a repudiation of judicial independence and an assault on the sanctity of the nation’s judiciary. He added that the invasion is reminiscent of the 2016 incident, wherein security agencies invaded the private residences of some judges in the night.
“The siege is reminiscent of the 2016 incident, wherein the beat of the night, security agencies invaded private residences of judicial officers, which subsequently turned out as an underserved phenomenon, and a dent on our professed independence of the judiciary, and demanding protection for our judges.
“As we already know, the judiciary harps on due process in the dispensation of justice and the House Committee on the Judiciary avows to collaborate with the judiciary and relevant stakeholders to secure the nation’s democracy, since the confidence and respect of citizens in the judiciary may likely wane if the incidence of this nature continues unchecked.
“We, therefore, condemn in totality such ignoble action, and pledge to every effort at ensuring the sanctity of the nation’s judiciary while giving our continuous support to the independence of the judiciary”.
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