Two Supreme Court judges, Iyang Okoro and Sylvester Nguta, among the seven judges accused of corruption, may risk no fewer than 58 years in jail, if convicted.
Justice Okoro and Nguta have reportedly suspended sittings since the raid on their homes and their subsequent arrest, PREMIUM TIMES report.
According to a spokesperson of Nigeria’s Supreme Court, though none of the judges whose houses were raided and arrested by the SSS have been suspended by the NJC, the two affected Supreme Court justices voluntarily stopped themselves from all judicial functions since the raid occurred.
Today, the Federal Government will officially file corruption charges against three senior court judges out of the seven, who were arrested on October 7 by the SSS following allegations of corruption.
Justices John Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court, are among the three jurists, whose cases are being filed today before the Federal High Court in Abuja. The third judge is a Federal High Court judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
The three suspects cases border mainly on money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. While Justices Okoro and Ngwuta are to be charged with alleged money laundering, Ademola is facing charges of alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. The judges may risk no fewer than 58 years in jail, if convicted.
The Federal Government is charging them to court, pursuant to Sections 104 and 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Specifically, Justice Adeniyi Ademola is slammed with four charges, with two bordering on alleged money laundering and others pinned on alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
However, the accused judges have denied any wrongdoing and claimed victimisation for previous stands they took against public officials, but the SSS insist that their arrest followed credible information about the judges’ alleged involvement in bribery and corruption allegations.
President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, had advised that the accused judges be suspended pending when they are cleared or convicted.
The SSS also accused the National Judicial Council of not judiciously treating petitions against corrupt judges. The NJC denied the allegation by the SSS.
Since their arrest, there have been different opinions about the raids and arrest of the judges. While some have commended the arrests, others have accused the executive of interfering with the judiciary by the arrests.