One of the seven Nigerian judges arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) in recent raids, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, has opened up on the encounter, declaring that the service forced him to sign a document at gunpoint.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed dated October 11, 2016, which was obtained by the media, Ademola also accused the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, of being behind his ordeal as a revenge for the punishment he meted out to him for professional misconduct when he (Ademola) was a Federal High Court Judge in Kano State.
In the letter entitled “Report on the Unlawful Invasion of the Resident of Hon. Justice Adeniyi Francis Ademola on the 7th of October 2016 and My Abduction,” Ademola stated that “contrary to the media report being circulated, I have never confessed to any crime or implicated anybody including judges in the statement obtained from me by the DSS.”
The letter, which he personally signed, noted that DSS’ officials arrived his residence on or about 12 a.m. on that fateful day. He said: “I was awoken by loud sound of banging, breaking and hitting on my front door. This gave me a lot of fear as I thought whoever was banging and hitting at my door were armed robbers or thieves especially because this was at an ungodly hour of the night.”
The embattled Justice, who indicated in the letter that he would commence legal proceedings against the DSS for violating his fundamental rights, said the DSS officials after gaining entrance into his apartment ransacked the house for about six hours.
“All this activity lasted for about six hours and when they finally finished with their guns still pointed at me, they handed a document to me purported to be an inventory of the items found upon their search and threatened me to sign it as being true. They threatened that if I did not sign it, they would not leave me alone and whatever they did to me at that point would be recorded and that I will not be alive to tell the story of what transpired between me and them that night. For fear and interest of my life, and unknown persons with mask on their faces, I collected the written items and signed the document,” he recalled.
Ademola, who alleged that he was whisked away from his residence to the office of the DSS without any Warrant of Arrest or reason for his arrest, said he was only informed of his alleged offences in the evening of October 9, 2016.
According to him, the DSS raised three allegations against him, which included “Petition of Hon. Jenkins Duvie dated 4th 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 the Civil Service Lagos State through Senator Bola Tinubu.”
Dasuki and Kanu are being held by the DSS on separate charges of corruption and treason.
But Ademola noted: “All the allegations that border on judicial decisions were supported with Certified True Copy of Proceedings showing that those applications were not opposed by Counsel representing the DSS or Federal Government of Nigeria. On the amount recovered in my residence, they were unable to tell me the exact amount recovered. And I explained that the appointment of my wife as Head of Service was based on merit and seniority.”
“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). Whilst I was in Kano between 2004-2008 as a Federal High Court Judge, he was involved in a professional misconduct necessitating his arrest and detention. However, with the intervention of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Kano Branch, the allegation of misconduct was later withdrawn by me.
“Consequently, the NJC referred Abubakar Mallami (SAN) to the NBA Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action. It was as 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 (SAN) has threatened to revenge and swore to do anything to bring me down,” Ademola noted.