A N50billion suit has been filed against President Muhammadu Buhari, the Department of State Services (DSS) and its Director-General, Lawal Daura, by Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, a Lagos-based lawyer for allegedly violating the rights of some judges.
Also joined as defendants in the suit with number, FHC/ABJ/CS/809/16, are the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The suit filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on October 14, came sequel to DSS operatives raid and arrest of some judges between October 8 and 9.
According to the plaintiff, the arrest of the judges without recourse to the NJC was illegal and a deliberate act to humiliate them. He added that the DSS operations violated the rights of judges under sections 33, 34, 35, 36, and 41 of the Nigerian Constitution.
Ogungbeje therefore sought 10 prayers including an order awarding N50billion against the defendants as “general and exemplary damages” as well as N2million to be awarded to him as the cost of the suit.
The plaintiff’s other prayers include, an order compelling the DSS to return to the judges the sums of money recovered from them and a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from arresting, inviting, intimidating, or harassing the judges with respect to the case.
In a 39-paragraph affidavit he deposed to in backing the suit, Ogungbeje argued that “the 6th respondent is the only body empowered by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to discipline judges and judicial officers in Nigeria. That the judiciary is an independent arm of government in Nigeria and separate from the executive and the legislature.
“That this illegal and unconstitutional action by the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents have been roundly condemned by the Nigerian Bar Association. That the 2nd (DG of DSS), 3rd (DSS), and 5th (IGP) respondents carried out their action which brazenly infringed upon the rights of the affected five judges without lawful excuse or recourse to the 6th respondent (NJC).