The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has warned that the judiciary will resist future attacks on its officers by the executive.
He spoke in Abuja on Wednesday during the special court session to mark the 2021/2022 New Legal Year and the inauguration of 72 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
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There was a national outrage when armed men, believed to be security operatives, on October 29, invaded the Abuja residence of the second most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili, on a search warrant purportedly obtained from a magistrate court.
The CJN said the judiciary had had enough of “such dosage of invasions” and would no longer take “such shenanigans”.
“By the nature of our work, we’re conservative, but not conquered species and should not be pushed further than this by the government.
“With time, those taking the 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 are 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.”
The CJN said the new direction on search warrants now requires their approval by the chief judge of the state.
The chairman of Body of Benchers, Adegboyega Awomolo and the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, called for the prosecution of suspects arrested in connection with the invasion of Justice Odili’s residence.