AGF: No vengeance, allow the law to take its course
One of the Federal High Court judges under probe by the Department of State Security Services (DSS), Justice Adeniyi Ademola has accused Attorney-General of the Federation/ Justice Minister Abubakar Malami (SAN) of being behind his travails.
Ademola, who narrated how 45 DSS operatives invaded his residence penultimate Friday and ‘abducted’ him, claimed he once ordered the detention of Malami for alleged professional misconduct. He branded his arrest by the DSS as a ‘vendetta and revenge’ by Malami.
He further alleged that he was forced at gunpoint to sign the inventory of items DSS claimed to have recovered from his residence.
Ademola, who opened up in a report to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said 45 DSS operatives invaded his home at midnight on October 7, to conduct a search. He said he was picked up by the DSS without any warrant of arrest.
But the AGF last night said he will “not join issues with Justice Ademola in order not to jeopardize ongoing investigation.”
“The judge should allow the law to take its course instead of clinging to the last straw to defend the allegations against him,” he said through a spokesman.
Justice Ademola in an October 11, 2016 letter to the CJN expressed regrets that he was ‘abducted’ on October 7 by DSS operatives.
His words: “On the 07/10/2016, I was in my house at No. 30 Ogbemudia Crescent, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja. On or about 12:00am (midnight) of the said Friday, I was awakened by loud sound of banging, breaking and hitting on my front door.
“This gave me a lot of fear as I thought whoever was banging and hitting at my door were armed robbers or thieves especially because this was at an ungodly hour of the night.
“Therefore I remained in my room upstairs and carefully listened to all the noise that came from downstairs. At this point, these persons had already started breaking into my house through the front door.
“After some minutes, I heard the door fall to the ground and about 15 minutes also, some persons began to hit my living room door. This movement continued for about at least an hour, then I heard footsteps on my staircase and these unknown persons finally reached my bedroom door.
“They asked me to open the door and I responded, asking them ‘who are you?’ They answered, we are officers of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and we are here with a Search Warrant to search your house. I told them to allow me to call my counsel. At this point, they had already begun kicking at my door and after about three kicks, I got up and opened my bedroom door and let them in.
“To my surprise, I saw about 45 masked officers of the DSS all heavily armed pointing their guns at me.
“They flashed a document purported to be a search warrant and ordered me to sign on a document claiming that they had already conducted a search downstairs. They also added that I was totally under their control today as I have always made order against them (the DSS).
“I complied and upon getting downstairs, I noticed that they had already scattered everything in the room on that floor. In the middle of the search, my counsel came and they continued with the search.
“After the search they informed me that before they got to my bedroom, they found some money in my guest rooms downstairs. I moved back to my living room space, while they were searching, where I sat down waiting for them to finish.
“When they finished, they came back to me with their guns still pointing at me, instructed me to take them back to my bedroom.
“Upon arrival in the said room, they began their search again thoroughly in and out of my personal belongings i.e, bags, boxes and collected personal family documents and draft judgements.
“All this activity lasted for about six hours and when they finally finished with their guns still pointed at me, they handed a document to me purported to be an inventory of the items found upon their search and threatened me to sign it as being true.
“They threatened me if I did not sign it, they would not leave me alone and whatever they did to me at that point would be recorded that I will not be alive to tell the story of what transpired between me and them that night.
“For fear and interest of my life, and unknown persons with mask on their faces, I collected the written items and signed the document.
“I was whisked away at about 6 am to the office of the DSS ‘without any warrant of arrest or reason for my arrest.”
He said he was informed 24 hours later that he was arrested based on “a petition by Hon. Jenkins Davies dated 4th of April, 2016 to the National Judicial Council; granting bail to Col. Sambo Dasuki; and unconstitutional release of Nnamdi Kanu.
“After stating the grounds for the invasion as stated above they requested for explanation of the money found in my apartment, as well as two licensed firearms also found in my apartment….but they were unable to tell me the exact amount recovered.”
On Malami, he said: “What is more intriguing in this whole episode, is that I see it as a vendetta/revenge from the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) whilst I was in Kano between 2004 and 2008. As a Federal High Court Judge, he was involved in a professional misconduct necessitating his arrest and detention by my order. However, with the intervention of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Kano branch, the allegation of misconduct was later withdrawn by me.
“Consequently, the National Judicial Council ( NJC) referred Abubakar Malami (SAN) to the NBA Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action. It was as a result of this he was denied the rank of SAN by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee for a period of four years until when he produced a fake letter of apology, purportedly addressed to me.
“It was then he was conferred with the rank. Since the above incident, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has threatened to revenge, and swore to do anything to bring me down.”
The Federal High Court Judge appealed to the CJN to grant him leave to enable him pursue justice over alleged infringement of his fundamental human right by the DSS.
“My Lord, with this infringement of my fundamental right, I seek for the leave to commence an action against the Department of Security Service to enforce my right that was breached.”
Ademola attached photocopies of the orders he gave against the DSS in respect of Dasuki’s case and the damage allegedly done to his property by the security officers.
Reacting to the allegations, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, the AGF said: “The Minister of Justice will not join issues with Justice Ademola in order not to jeopardize ongoing investigation.
“The judge should allow the law to take its course instead of clinging to the last straw to defend the allegations against him. At the end of the day, justice shall prevail. He should let the ongoing process take its full judicial course.
“Having sworn to an oath to do good to all, the AGF has no cause to embark on vengeance or intimidation of any judge or any Nigerian.”