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CJN Warns against Harassment of Judges

CJN Warns against Harassment of Judges  

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad has warned that the judiciary would no longer tolerate harassment and embarrassment of its officials from anyone or agency of government.

He also said testing the will of judicial officers would come with dire consequences.

He sounded the warning Wednesday at the special session marking the official commencement of the Supreme Court’s 2021/2022 legal year.

The high point of the event was the conferment of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on 72 legal practitioners at the Supreme Court Abuja.

Justice Muhammad spoke against the backdrop of the invasion of a Justice of Supreme Court, Mary Odili’s Abuja residence during the legal year by some armed security operatives.

The residence was invaded following a purported search warrant from a controversial source.

The CJN said:  “Unfortunate occurrences blighted our joy and presented some pensive moments to contend with.”

Sounding visibly angry, Muhammad said: “On a very sad note, I must say, we were jolted with the embarrassing news of the invasion of the official residence of one of our brother Justices, Hon Justice Mary Peter Odili on Friday, October 29 by men suspected to be security operatives, acting on a search warrant.

“The said the warrant was purportedly obtained from an Abuja Magistrate Court under questionable circumstances.

“I must make it known to all and sundry that we have had enough dosage of such embarrassment and harassment of our judicial officers across the country and we can no longer take any of such shenanigans.

“The silence of the judiciary should never be mistaken for stupidity or weakness.

“By the nature of our work, we are conservative but not conquered species and should not be pushed further than this by any individual, institution or agency of the government. With time, those taking judiciary as a mere weakling will soon realize that it is from the calmest seas we often experience the fiercest storms.

“The time to oppress, suppress and intimidate judicial officers is gone. No one, irrespective of his or her status or position in the country, should test our will because the consequences of such unwarranted provocation will be too dire to bear.

“We shall begin to resist any clandestine attempt to silence or ridicule us to oblivion. Nigeria, to the best of my knowledge is not a lawless society. We should begin to do things that will project us favourably and rightly too, to the international community.

“No law permits anyone to invade, subdue or overawe any Nigerian citizen in his or her residence with a flimsy, fraudulently obtained search warrant.

“We are making efforts now to ensure that henceforth, every search or arrest warrant must be issued with the knowledge and approval of the Chief Judge of the respective State or Federal High Court as the case may be.”

 

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