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Saturday, October 15

We’ve found more evidence against arrested judges –FG’s prosecutors

We’ve found more evidence against arrested judges –FG’s prosecutors

The Federal Government’s National Prosecution Coordination Committee may have found more evidence against the judges that were arrested between October 7 and 8 in different parts of the country.

It was also learnt that the committee was still brainstorming on the appropriate charges to file against the judges

A source in the committee confirmed to our correspondent on Friday that the committee would finish drafting the charges and file them, either on Monday or Tuesday next week.

It was learnt that the committee, which has been working in concert with the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Mohammed Umar, was still meeting as of 7pm at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja on Friday.

The source said, “The truth of the matter is that the arrests carried out have led to more evidence and the Federal Government, through the NPCC, is drafting the charges to be filed against the judges.

“But I can assure you that we have got prima facie case against the judges.

“Investigations, which are still ongoing, have revealed a lot of evidence that was not envisaged at the outset.

“The available evidence will determine the charges to be filed and in which court to file them.”

The source said despite the condemnation of the arrest of the judges by the National Judicial Council, the government would proceed against the judges.

According to the source, the charges would be filed as soon as the drafting is completed early next week.

Spokesperson for NPCC and for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Salihu Isah, could not be reached on Friday as calls made to his phone could not go through.

Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council on Thursday condemned the raid on the judges’ houses by the operatives of the Department of State Service.

A statement issued by the Acting Director, Information, Mr. Soji Oye, late Thursday night, containing the position of the NJC reached after its emergency meeting convened on Tuesday to address the incident, described the treatment meted out to the arrested judicial officers as a threat to the independence of the judiciary.

At the meeting, Oye said the NJC nominated Justice Walter Onnoghen for appointment as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria to succeed the outgoing CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who retires on attaining 70 years of age on November 10, 2016.

The NJC expressed support for the President Buhari administration’s fight against corruption and the cleansing of the judiciary.

It also expressed confidence in the administration’s resolve to uphold the principle of democracy and separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution.

But the council expressed “grave concern” about the events leading to the arrest of the judicial officers, a development which it described as an “attempt by the DSS to humiliate, intimidate, denigrate and cow the judiciary.”

It described the incident as an attempt to denigrate the judiciary, insisting that, “it (the council) maintains its earlier decision that no judicial officer shall be invited by any institution including the DSS, without complying with the rule of law and due process.”

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