REVEALED: How Milions of Naira, Dollars were recovered from Judges by DSS

Sources at the Department of State Security has revealed that the overnight raid on the residences of nine judges, culminating in the arrest of several of them, came as a result of petitions and decisions of the National Judicial Council (NJC), a statutory body that regulates the activities of judges.

DSS sources, however, said contrary to reports, Supreme Court nominee for Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was not targeted in any of the raids conducted so far. Justice Onnohen reportedly raised alarm to friends when he noticed police action next to his residence as a team of security agents swooped on his next door neighbor, Justice Sylvanus Ngwunta.

A press release issued by the DSS indicated that Justice Onnohen is not under investigation, and that the justice's appointment is being fast-tracked to become the CJN in a few days.

However, two Supreme Court justices, John Inyang Okoro and Sylvanus Ngwuta, were arrested in connection with the receipt of bribes from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Justice Ngwuta reportedly traveled to Qatar to receive bribes that he shared with Justice Okoro and other justices in order to help Mr. Wike win a case at the Supreme Court regarding his disputed election. 

During a search of his home, Justice Ngwunta was in possession of N35,208m, $319,475, 25,890 pounds and 280 Euros.

The two judges have been linked with massive properties development in Abuja and Calabar. Justice Okoro is said to be building seven houses simultaneously in Calabar with the help of former Governor Godswill Akpabio and his predecessor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom state. Justice Okoro had N4.35m, $38,833 and 1000 Euros in his possession during his arrest this morning.

According to SR, Governor Wike sprang up late at night to obstruct the arrest of a judge in the city of Port Harcourt. The altercation that ensued created a tense atmosphere between Wike and security operatives sent to arrest the judge.

One source told SR that the judge involved was Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt. Justice Liman reportedly took $2million from Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party to give a judgement that “overthrew” the faction led by a former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff. Governor Wike reportedly transferred the funds in cash to Liman in Ghana, before it was ferried to his home in Port Harcourt. The bribe was to be shared between Lima and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta

When the team arrived the house in Port Harcourt where the loot was kept Gov. Wike mobilized his men to counter the DSS team with the aid of the State’s Police Commissioner. A source said that one Justice Uche Nma Agomoh of the Federal High Court in the same city who was a lackey of the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu was also involved in the scam.

A statement issued by the DSS stated that their team was obstructed by the governor and some thugs with the help of officers from a sister agency, which sources say is a reference to Nigeria Police.

A source said Governor Wike left when confronted by police and DSS agents who threatened to shoot him, however, the obstruction aided movement of the cash found on the property. Governor Wike told a different version to the press, claiming he did not know who the judge was.

Justice Muazu Pindiga, who was arrested in Gombe, was transported to DSS headquarters in Abuja. A DSS source said that Justice Pindiga is cooperating with the DSS regarding his role in a bribery scheme over the Rivers State election tribunal from which he was removed as a judge as SR exposed him for receiving N100m from Governor Wike.

Justice Muhammad Ladan Tsamiya of the Appeal Court who was recently "compulsorily retired" by the NJC, was not home when a DSS team invaded his home in Gwarimpa, Abuja. He reportedly surrendered to the DSS later in the day.

One of the most dramatic scenes took place when the DSS team stormed the home of Justice Adeniyi Ademola. When the team ordered Justice Ademola to come out, the judge claimed he was not home, but his cellphone signal gave him away. He was subsequently arrested with at least N300 million found in different local and foreign currencies in his bedroom. The sum of N54m cash, $171,779. 4,400 Euros, 1,010 Rupees, and 80 pounds was found in his residence.

A different team also arrested Justice Kabiru Auta in Kano.

One DSS source said that the raids were meant to be carried out by joint DSS and the Nigerian police teams, adding that the police bungled some of the raids by apparently tipping off their targets.

Several security agents stated that the raids took place following independent investigations that were triggered by petitions submitted to NJC against some judges. According to one of the operatives, none of the nine judges targeted have spent their salaries in the last two years.

One source revealed that the raids were originally planned for last week, but had to be postponed to the weekend for "strategic reasons."

A statement issued by the DSS stated that the agency had recovered large sums of foreign and local currencies. The DSS gave a breakdown of the recovered funds as follows:

1. NAIRA - N93,558,000.00
2. DOLLARS - $530,087
3. POUNDS - £25,970
4. EURO - €5,680

Other foreign currencies were also recovered. So far, all these funds were recovered from just three of the arrested judges.

The DSS operatives also seized banking as well as real estate documents from several judges. All is being put in place to arraign the arrested justices in court this week.