The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, has said the judiciary will no longer accept further intimidation and harassment of judges in the country.
Muhammad asked individuals, government appointees and agencies never to mistake the silence of the judiciary for stupidity or weakness, saying that the judiciary would resist any attempt to silence or ridicule judicial officers.
The CJN made this known on Wednesday in Abuja at a special session to mark the formal commencement of the 2021/2022 legal year of the Supreme Court.
Speaking specifically, the CJN condemned the invasion of the home of Justice Mary Odili on October 29 2021, by suspected security operatives.
He described the raid on his second-in-command as embarrassing, saying “those taking the judiciary as a mere weakling will soon realise that it is from the calmest seas.”
The CJN said: “On a very sad note, I must say, we were jolted with embarrassing news of the invasion of the official residence of honourable justice Mary Peter Odili on Friday, October 29, by men suspected to be security operatives, acting on a search warrant. The said 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. By the nature of our work, we are a 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 the judiciary as a mere weakling will soon realise that it is from the calmest seas we often experience the fiercest storms.
“The time to oppress, suppress and intimidate judicial officers are gone. We shall begin to resist any clandestine attempt to silence or ridicule us to oblivion.”
The CJN said the judiciary would ensure that search and arrest warrants are issued with the knowledge and approval of the Chief Judge of the respective state or Federal High Court.
He added: “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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