The Nigerian presidency had confirmed that the weekend raid on the houses of senior judges by the Department of State Services, DSS, is sanctioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday, October 9, 2016, said that the attack on the judges was an extension of President Buhari’s anti-corruption war and urged that the raid should not be viewed as an attack on the judiciary.
At midnight on Friday, hooded and armed agents of the country’s secret police besieged the homes of two Supreme Court justices and some federal judges across the country. Some of the justices were abducted from their homes in an unconstitutional action and an abuse of power by President Buhari.
The DSS issued a statement, following a citizen outcry over the dictatorial tactic, saying that the operation was aimed at cleansing the judiciary of corruption. Alleging that one of the judges who they were not able to arrested had $2 million cash in his home.
But Shehu says the president is a committed democrat who will not violate the constitution.
“The presidency assures that the president reserves his highest respect for the institution of the judiciary as the third arm of government,” the statement shared on Facebook said.
“To this end, the President will not do anything to undermine its independence.
“President Buhari remains a committed democrat, in words and in his action, and will not take any action in violation of the constitution.
“The recent surgical operation against some judicial officers is specifically targeted at corruption and not at the judiciary as an institution.
“In a robust democracy such as ours, there is bound to be a plurality of opinions on any given issue, but there is a convergence of views that the country has a corruption problem that needs to be corrected.
“But reports by a section of the media are giving us cause for concern.
“In undertaking the task of reporting, the media should be careful about the fault lines they open. It is wrong to present this incident as a confrontation between the executive and judicial arms of government.
“The Presidency has received assurances from the DSS that all due processes of the law, including the possession of search and arrest warrants were obtained before the searches.
“To suggest that the government is acting outside the law in a dictatorial manner is to breach the interest of the state,” he ended.