A Bauchi-based legal practitioner, Barr. Abdull Malle, has described as “hasty”, the reaction of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) over the crackdown on some judges by the Department of State Security Service (SSS).
In an interview in Bauchi on Monday, Malle said the association ought to have taken its time to study the situation carefully before threating the authorities on the issue.
He said although judges were protected within the confines of their duty-post, they could be investigated on behaviours that ran foul of the law, once due process was followed.
According to him, if the investigating authority has been granted search permit by a court of competent jurisdiction, the action of such authority is covered by law.
He therefore advised that the matter be treated with caution in view of its sensitive nature and implication on the image of the Judiciary.
Meanwhile, some residents of Bauchi, Gombe and Yola have hailed the action taken by the Department of Security Services in cracking down on suspected corrupt judges. They said that the anti-corruption drive of the Federal Government should be ‘all embracing’.
They said that with the trial of some members of the National Assembly and the current move on the suspected judges, it had become clear that there could be no ‘sacred cows’ in the anti-corruption crusade.
According to them, such move will clear all doubts in the minds of some people about the nobble intention of the present administration to rid the country of corruption.
Malam Usman Aliyu, a civil servant with Bauchi state government, said the measure had made him to have faith in the exercise.
“In the past, the war was just a sweet melody without action; no big fish was ever caught in the net but the story is different today”, he said.
He urged the antigraft agencies to disregard the threat of the Nigeria Bar Association on the matter, describing their action as selfish.
Timothy Abraham, a businessman in Bauchi, noted that the recent clampdown on judges confirmed an earlier complaint by President Buhari that his major headache as far as the anti-corruption fight was concerned, was the Judiciary.
He said any attempt by an individuals or association to scuttle the crusade should be viewed seriously by all well-meaning Nigerians.
He however advised that due process be followed in bringing culprits to justice so as not to give room for any complaints from people with vested interests.
Another resident of Bauchi, Aliyu Bala, a federal civil servant, noted that the sectors considered as ‘untouchable’ had so far been ‘touched’, as such the anti-graft war was on the right course.
“There should be no hiding place for any person, no matter his personality or association; what is happening today gladdens my heart.
“Anybody that is not happy or tries to become a stumbling block, means he or she encourages corruption; it is left for Nigerians to know how to handle him,” he said.
In Gombe, Alhaji Mohammad Wayas, North East Zonal Chairman of Human Rrights Coalition, a non-governmental organization, said that the Federal government was moving in the right direction. According to him, the Judges arrested are not above the law, hence the need for the government to handle them accordingly to serve as lesson to others.
Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, another Gombe resident and a civil servant, urged the Federal government to ignore any threat and ensure that justice was done in the case.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the anti-graft fight to the door-steps of individuals considered as ‘untouchable’ in the past.
Malam Muazu Umar, another Gombe resident, expressed dismay over the threat of the NBA and called for thorough screening of legal practitioners with doubtful character.
In Yola, cross section of commercial drivers and cyclists who spoke to NAN said they were in support of Federal Government’s move to cleanse the Judiciary of bad eggs.
“I am in full support of the move to sanitize the Judiciary and there should be no scared cow.
“If politicians and military men are being arrested for corruption, Judges should not be excluded,” Musa Habu, a driver said.
Habibu Danjuma and Kabiru Mubi, tricycle operators, also declared support for the arrest of the Judges, saying the measure had gone a long way in convincing Nigerians that the Buhari administration was committed to the anti-graft war.
“It’s now that I am convinced that Buhari is committed to fighting corruption; we are with him on this; we voted for him for such change,” Danjuma said.