The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has called on individuals and government agencies to stop harassing and embarrassing judicial officers.
He stated this Wednesday in Abuja during a special session to declare the formal commencement of the 2021/2022 legal year of the Supreme Court.
The CJN, while appraising the judiciary’s performance in the just-concluded year, was specific about the siege on the Abuja residence of Justice Mary Odili of the apex court.
According to him, “I must say, we were jolted with embarrassing news of the invasion of the official residence of one of our brother Justices, Honourable Justice Mary Peter Odili, on Friday 29th October 2021, by men suspected to be security operatives, acting on a search warrant purportedly obtained from an Abuja Magistrate’s Court under questionable circumstance,” he said.
“I must make it known to all and sundry that we have had enough dosage of such embarrassments and harassments of our judicial officers across the country, and we can no longer take any of such shenanigans. The silence of the judiciary should never be mistaken for stupidity or weakness.
“By the nature of our work, we are 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.”
Justice Tanko further stressed that the era of oppressing, suppressing, and intimidating judicial officers has ended as it will no longer tolerate such action.
He added that no one, irrespective of their status or position in the country, should test the will of the judiciary, as the consequence of such unwarranted provocation would not be excellent.
The Chief Justice noted that it would begin resisting any secret attempt to silence or ridicule judicial officers to obliviousness.
He also revealed that they were making efforts to ensure that search and arrest warrants must be issued with the knowledge and approval of the Chief Judge or federal high court in various states.
“Nigeria, to the best of my knowledge, is not a lawless society,” the CJN avowed. “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 added.