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Security Agencies Watch-list Supreme Court Justices-the Nations

Supreme Court justices and judges serving on nine election petitions tribunals have been placed on a security agencies’ watch-list, it was learnt yesterday.

The tribunals are those of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Yobe, Gombe, Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Delta and Taraba states.

Besides, a governor and a former governor are being investigated for allegedly offering to pay for some judges’ vacation trips .

According to sources, the Federal Government is disturbed that some governors and candidates in the last general elections have become desperate in their bid to influence tribunals.

It was gathered that some petitioners and defenders had been dangling mouth-watering bribes before judges to sway judgment in their favour.

The development was said to have irritated the Muhammadu Buhari administration, which asked security agencies to bring errant judges to book.

It was learnt that the row generated by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s controversial visit to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmood Mohammed, has further motivated the government to ask security agencies to watch and protect judges.

“The new administration is out to protect the sanctity of the judiciary. The era of impunity, judgment-fixing and hijack of the court or tribunals for selfish ends is gone,” a source said.

It added: “The position of the Buhari administration is that each litigant and respondent should go to the tribunals to defend his or her petition. This position applies to all political parties.”

It was learnt that security agencies have been trailing a governor and a former governor who offered to pay for some judges’ vacation trips.

“The serving governor has been boasting that there is no judgment he cannot fix because he has the head of one of the courts at his beck and call. He also said he will be paying for vacation trips of some judges.

“The former Chief Justice of Nigeria threatened to sanction the said head of a court when insinuations of his under-the-table deals got to her.

“The ex-governor is also noted for bragging that there is nothing money cannot buy.”

A source at the Supreme Court, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the development.

The source said: “All judges are really on security watch-list, including those at the apex court. The security agents were called in to monitor judges and movement of money.

“There is no tribunal sitting without any official of the Department of State Services attached to it.

“But there are more discreet security personnel putting close tabs on election petition tribunals than those officially attached.

“The position of the government is that these judges must be allowed to discharge their duties without fear or favour.”

Determined to stave off pressure from election petitioners, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, recently banned politicians from his residence – a development The Nation reported exclusively .

He also directed that his security detail from the State Security Service (SSS) and police orderly will henceforth be part of any interaction with Politically Exposed Lawyers seeking audience with him.

The CJN has limited official courtesy calls by governors with outstanding petitions against them at election tribunals.

The CJN put all these measures in place following subtle moves by some election petitioners to drag the Judiciary into politics.
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