The Department of State Services, DSS, has alleged that Governor Nyesim Wike of Rivers State used his position to prevent its operatives from searching the house and arresting a high court judge who kept two million United States Dollars in his residence.
The Service, which issued a statement on Saturday to explain why it raided the residences of two Supreme Court judges as well as two judges of the Federal high Court, said it acted on credible evidence provided to it.
According to the statement, the operations by the DSS were based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges.
Part of the statement read “the Service’s action is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the Judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgments obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.
“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched.”
Garba further stated that huge amounts of money in various denominations, both in local and foreign currency, were discovered at the judges’ houses during the searches, as well as “real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges.”
The DSS spokesman also said that “some of them (judges) have made useful statements while a few have declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.”
Reacting to the role played by Governor Wike, the DSS said: “In one of the States where the Service operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the Judge had Two Million United States Dollars ($2,000,000 USD) stashed in his house.
“When he was approached for due search to be conducted, he in concert with the State Governor, mobilized thugs against the Service team.
“The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the Governor. Unfortunately, the Judge and Governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency.”
The statement further added that a DSS “surveillance team noticed that upon frustrating the operation, the Judge with the active support of the Governor craftily moved the money to an unknown location which the Service is currently making effort to unravel.”
According to the statemen signed by Abdulaziz Garba, Monies recovered during the operations include:
NAIRA – N93,558,000.00
DOLLARS – $530,087
POUNDS – £25,970
EURO – €5,680
It added that the stated sums of money were recovered from just three judges, added to “other banking documents, including real estate documents.”
The DSS noted that preparations were on to arraign the judges in a competent court of jurisdiction in line with the laws of the nation, promising that “this current operation will be sustained … till sanity and sanctity is restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence is regained.”
The Service also clarified that “it has never invited Justice Walter NKANU ONNOGHEN for investigation, neither is he being investigated by this Service.”
The DSS said it has tremendous respect for the Judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities, rather it will join in the efforts to rid the judiciary of “few corrupt Judges whose actions is undermining not only the Judiciary but the common bond of our national life.”
The security agency called on the public to always avail it of any information which could assist in the drive to rid Nigeria of corrupt practices and tendencies.