A coalition of civil society organisations under the aegis of Conference of Harmonised Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, COHCSON, has said alleged that secessionists are infiltrating the country’s judicial system.
The group’s allegation is coming on the heels of a recent judgement by the Oyo State High Court which awarded N20billion damages to a Yoruba self-acclaimed activist, Sunday Igboho, whose residences was raided by the operatives the State Security Service, SSS.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the COHCSON chairman, Oduma Richard-Oduma, said the alarm became necessary in order to save the nation from apparent danger.
“This press conference is called to condemn what is turning out to be an execution of a detailed plan to subvert and undermine the country’s judicial system.
“When we first heard that the dissident and secessionist IPOB and Yoruba nation groups were planning to infiltrate the courts at all levels we dismissed the allegations. But latest developments have indeed forced us to raise this alert,” he said.
“It has come to our notice that the groups are resorting to blackmail and intimidation to hoodwink the judges into granting them unmerited judicial favours.
“Recently, a State High in Oyo State presided by Justice Ladiran delivered a judgment in favour of Sunday Igboho and awarded him 20billion naira as claims.
“As part of the evil plots, IPOB has instituted a 5Billion naira case at the Abia State High Court Umuahia where a Judge would, out of fear of harassment and violence, grant them the plea.
“It has become obvious that IPOB intends to use its violence stricken sit-at-home enforcement style to force the judges do their bidding.
“On the case of Igboho, we are aware that having failed to secure his release from Benin Republic authorities, the leaders resolved to raise funds to patronise friendly judges in Nigeria who are sympathetic to their cause.
“A serving governor in the south West appears to be part of the plot. The leaders in that meeting also agreed to sponsor more rallies abroad to give Nigeria a bad image internationally.
“Aside from raising funds from Diaspora groups and individuals who share in the evil dream of dividing the country, the group agreed to shop for a friendly judge to award those claims against the government thus the 20billion naira,” the CSOs alleged.
The CSOs, therefore, appealed to judges not to be intimidated by antics of secessionists by being diligent in their responsibility in the interest of the entire country.
He said: “We like to use this medium to appeal to judges and lawyers to resist the temptation to betray their secret oath of office and to stick to the law in the overall interest of the country.
“No amount of inducement should entice any patriot to endanger the lives of over two hundred million Nigerians. Judges and lawyers who administer justice should be reminded that the survival of nations depends on the patriotism of her citizens.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria should caution chief judges of states to monitor developments within their jurisdiction in the interest of the nation and the integrity of the judiciary in general.
“We are using this opportunity to appeal to the National Judicial Council (NJC) to rise to the occasion and sanction erring judges. The recent warning given by the Chief Justice of Nigeria should be enough to guide the Honourable Judges.
“No desperate secessionists should be allowed to rubbish our collective unity and threaten our sovereign existence or undermine the integrity of our courts,” the group submitted.