IGP orders investigation into invasion of Justice Odili’s residence

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“Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, yesterday, ordered inspection into the influx of Justice Mary Odili’s residence in Abuja. 

He described the violation of the sanctity of the residence of the apex court judge as “unfortunate and unacceptable”saying the “leadership of the Force is not aware and did not at any time order police operatives to carry out such assignment.”

He directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to strengthen security around the street and residence of Justice Odili to ensure her safety and also  prevent a reoccurrence of the unfortunate incident.

Odili’s residence was reportedly invaded by officials from the Federal Ministry of Justice and operatives from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). But the two organisations have denied their involvement following public outrage.

The IGP,  in a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said those found to have taken part in the operation would be made to face the wrath of the law.

Mba said details would be made public on conclusion of investigations.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri,  National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) and the South East South South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) have condemned the raid and called for prosecution of the perpetrators.

The governor described the raid as ill-advised and an attempt to intimidate the judiciary, which is an independent arm of government.

He called on the Federal Government, which controls the security agencies, not to only investigate the incident, but also ensure that those found culpable are brought to book and properly sanctioned.

He said the world was watching to see how the Federal Government handled the incident, which  according to him, was another ugly episode and one too many on the attacks by security operatives on the homes of judicial officers in the country.

NHRC also called for the prosecution of those behind what it called unlawful invasion.

Its executive secretary, Tony Ojukwu, in a statement by Fatimah Mohammed, deputy director, Public Affairs described the raid at Odili’s house as violation of her rights to privacy, integrity of her judicial personality, premises and office.

“The perpetrators must, therefore, be made to account for their professional misconduct by arresting them, prosecuting them,” he said.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement by Alex Ogbonnia said it was ethically reprehensible and globally unacceptable for the executive to invade the home of a senior member of the judicial arm of the government.

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“It is simply a mockery on democracy and a foul miasma on the image of Nigeria. The siege on her home is an assault on several institutions; womanhood, judiciary, democracy, rule of law, civil society and indeed all facets of humanity.

“Justice Mary Odili is one of the few judges in Nigeria with clean and intimidating credentials. All the schools she attended still post her brilliant performances.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo, therefore, demands that an unreserved apology should be rendered to the highly revered Justice of the Supreme Court; and an assurance that such an embarrassment will never be contemplated.”

ADF alleged that the desecration of the judiciary by the Federal Government was part of a tendentious plan and another brutal strategy employed by President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s top brass to navigate the impending politics of transition in the country’s highest court.

Chairman of ADF’s Media and Publicity Bureau, Abia Onyike claimed Odili was targetted because she is the next in rank to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.

“They want to block her from succeeding the incumbent. That was the same crude method used to deal ruthlessly with Justice Walter Onoghen. We in ADF condemn the destruction and destitution of the judiciary by executive lawlessness. This devilish anti-democratic machination must be halted forthwith,” Onyike stated.

In its reaction, SESSPN described the invasion as a new low of deliberate rascality, too sordid for rational comprehension.

“For a nation that wakes up to daily servings of state impunity, this is another grave sacrilege beyond ineptitude, and one we hoped won’t be our lot again, after a 2016 similar castration of Supreme Court Justices,” its publicity secretary, Collins Ugwu said. 

Also, National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has demanded full scale inquiry to unravel the circumstances surrounding the raid on the residence of Odili.

 A statement by Abiola Owoaje, said  such inquisition should begin with Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna, whistle blower, Aliyu Umar and Lawrence Ajodo.

“Until a justifiable explanation is offered for this abject manifestation of autocratic recklessness, the wretchedness of this disposition must be roundly and comprehensively deprecated. It is an abhorrent disregard for the rule of law; a condemnable and totally unacceptable affront on this country’s increasingly fragile democratic structures, and a gross violation of the fundamental human rights of Justice Peter-Odili,” Owoaje said.

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