Nigerians who in the past questioned the conduct of many judges, but had no way of prompting investigations despite having evidence of wrongdoing, are inundating the State Security Service with petitions after last weekend’s arrest of seven judges.
Security sources told PT on Wednesday that the petitioners accuse the judges of fraud and want the SSS to widen its investigation beyond judges already penciled down for probe and possible prosecution.
“It’s like everyone who has had cause to go to court for one reason or the other has been a victim [of bribe for judgement],” one SSS source said.
The revelation came as the SSS worked to consolidate evidence ahead of the arraignment of the judges arrested in a nationwide anti-corruption sweep between Friday and Saturday, officials said.
Seven judges were taken into custody after the raid conducted simultaneously in six-states, including Abuja.
The sources said the SSS had dispatched proofs of its allegations against the judges to the National Judicial Council for action.
“We have written the NJC about what has happened and we expect the NJC to take some decisions about the affected judges this week,” one source said. “Once that is done, hopefully by next week or thereabout, we should arraign them in court.”
The agency hopes that the NJC members, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, will recommend sanctions against the judges based on the evidence of graft tendered against them, ahead of their prosecution.
The sources said many Nigerians were supportive of the crackdown by flooding the SSS with damning petitions, with some who had been a victim of abuse of court processes expressing their willingness to testify against the judges.
“More facts are trickling in and we cannot ignore them. It is our statutory responsibility to investigate painstakingly every complaint. Some victims have even indicated their readiness to testify in court,” the sources said.