Justice Adeniyi Ademola has declared that his arrest penultimate weekend during a raid on his Abuja house by operatives of the Department of State Services was a personal vendetta against him masterminded by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN. In a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, Ademola said Malami was trying to get back at him because while serving as federal judge in Kano he once ordered the minister’s arrest and detention for alleged misconduct.
The judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, also narrated his ordeal at the hand of the security operatives, saying they held guns to his head to sign a document detailing items, allegedly, found in his house and confessional statements he made during the raid.
Ademola was one of the four judges arrested by the DSS penultimate Saturday after an unprecedented sting operation launched almost simultaneously in different states and Abuja. The secret police organ said it recovered over N362 million during the operation targeted at judicial officers accused of involvement in corrupt practices. Though, the raid, which involved the arrest of two Supreme Court justices, Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, and two judges of the Federal High Court, Ademola (Abuja Division) and Muazu Pindiga (Gombe Division), was widely criticised.
But in the letter dated October 11, 2016, Ademola accused Malami of pursuing a vendetta against him using the DSS.
According to the judge, “Contrary to media report being circulated, I have never confessed to any crime or implicated anybody, including judges, in my statement obtained from me by the DSS.
“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 Mallami, SAN, (who) whilst I was in Kano between 2004 and 2008 as a Federal High Court judge was involved in a professional misconduct necessitating his arrest and detention by my order. However, with the intervention of the Nigerian Bar Association, Kano Branch, the allegation of misconduct was later withdrawn by me.
“Consequently, the National Judicial Council referred Abubakar Mallami to the NBA Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action. It was a result of this he was denied the rank of SAN by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee for the 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 Mallami has threatened to revenge and swore to do anything to bring me down.”
Ademola sought the permission of the CJN to sue the DSS.
“My Lord, with this infringement of my fundamental right, I seek for the leave to commence an action against the DSS to encore my right that was breached,” he stated.
Ademola also alleged that he was arrested by the DSS because he granted the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who is facing trial for corruption, bail and freed the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The judge said he was held for over 24 hours before he was told the reason he was brought to the DSS office. He said the operatives threatened and ordered him to sign a document purported to be inventory of what they allegedly found in his house.
He said, “For and interest of my life, and unknown persons with mask on their faces, I collected the written items and signed the document.
“Upon signing the document, they told me that I am under arrest and ordered me with guns still pointed at me to move outside. As I was going, they told me they were taking me to their office, Department of State Services office, without showing any warrant of arrest.
“I obeyed them and about six o’clock in the morning, I was whisked away from my residence to the DSS office without any warrant of arrest or reason for my arrest. From the time of my arrival at the DSS office, at about 6:45am on 8/10/2016, I was not told what my crime was for over 24 hours till the evening of 9/10/2016.
“A DSS official finally informed me that the search of my house and arrest were based on these three allegations: petition of Hon. Jenkins Duvie dated 4th of April 2016 to the National Judicial Council; granting bail to Col. Sambo Dasuki and the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu; and using my office to secure my wife’s appointment as the head of civil service through Senator Bola Tinubu.”
Efforts to get Malami’s reaction to the allegation were unsuccessful, as he neither picked his calls nor replied our SMS.