At least eight more senior judges in Nigeria are being investigated for corruption and may be arrested anytime from now, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
The eight are part of 15 judges that are being investigated by the State Security Service for alleged corrupt practices.
Already, seven judges were arrested between Friday night and Saturday morning in raids that have been condemned by lawyers and Nigerian rights groups.
The seven judges arrested and currently in detention at the SSS office are Justice Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court; Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabir Auta of the Kano High Court; Muazu Pindiga of the Gombe High Court, Mohammed Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal in Ilorin, and the Chief Judge of Enugu State, I. A. Umezulike.
Messrs Umezulike, Auta, and Tsamiya had earlier been recommended for sack by the National Judicial Council for alleged corrupt activities.
The seven arrested judges were still at the SSS office on Sunday evening, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
A source at the headquarters of the security service also confirmed that the judges were allowed to see their families and have made relevant statements to the security agency.
Although the identity of the eight others being investigated is not yet clear, at least one of them is a member of the Supreme Court, a source said.
Apart from the judges, at least three members of the registry staff of relevant courts have also been invited for questioning by the SSS and have made “relevant statements,” the source said.
On Saturday, the security service gave reasons why it arrested the judges.
In a statement, the SSS said it also recovered various sums of money from those arrested including over N93 million in cash as well as over $530,000 in cash.
The mode of arrest of the seven judges has led to intense criticism from Nigerians including by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), and foremost rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), which asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the release of the judges.
“The judges may be released even this evening or tomorrow, once they finish with their statements which we are allowing them write at their own pace,” our source said.
An emergency meeting called by the NJC on the arrests is expected to hold on Monday in what may pit the Judiciary against the executive arm of government.