Just as Nigerians were complaining over the arrest of some judges for alledged corrupt practices, China convicted one of her lawmaker of this same corruption reason.
The affected Nigeria justices of the Supreme Court were: Sylvanus Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro. The affected judges of the Federal High Court were Muazu Pindiga, Adeniyi Ademola, Abdullahi Liman and Nnamdi Dimgba. Prominent Nigerians reacted to the arrests differently, with many on social media accusing the DSS of gestapo style antics.
In Rivers state, Governor Nyesom Wike prevented the arrest of a judge and later told the press that the events could have led to deaths and that his state was under siege.
Femi Fani-Kayode the former aviation minister, accused the DSS of falsely accusing the judges, Dino Melaye seemed to be in support of the arrests as he said many of the judges were already too corrupt. Femi Falana (SAN), a prominent Nigerian lawyer was in support of the arrests and President Buhari later released an official statement through Garba Shehu, the senior special adviser on media and publicity in which he detailed the reason for the arrests. The burning question in the minds of Nigerians is this: Was it proper for the judges to be arrested in a sting operation by the DSS? By way of comparison, let us consider 3 times when judges were arrested for corruption in the USA:
The first case that comes to mind is that of traffic court judge, Willie Singletary, who was caught on video in a meeting with the Philadelphia First State Road Rattlers, a motorcycle club, soliciting for bribes. In the video, he was caught saying: “There’s going to be a basket going around because I’m running for Traffic Court judge, right, and I need some money. “I got some stuff that I got to do, but if you all can give me $20 you’re going to need me in Traffic Court. Am I right about that? … Now you all want me to get there, you’re all going to need my hook-up, right?” When he was arrested, so were eight other judges by the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), for “conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, making false statements to the FBI, and aiding and abetting.” The judges subsequently faced up to 100 years in prison.
In 2014, a Puerto Rican judge was also arrested for bribery. The 62-year-old judge, Manuel Acevedo Hernandez was accused of accepting bribes to pervert the cause of justice in a fatal drunk-driving case. He was detained at his home in the northwestern coastal town of Aguadilla, after the FBI concluded its investigation. The investigation also proved that he had agreed to acquit Lutgardo Acevedo Lopez, a certified public accountant, in exchange for help in being promoted to appellate judge and to find employment for two of his relatives. US Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez speaking on the case said: “In my 35 years of experience, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said at the time. He pleaded not guilty and received a $50,000 bail.
Another case was that of a judge, Arnold Jones II, a judge that attempted to bribe an FBI agent for information on what he described as a “family matter.” He reportedly approached the FBI officer whose name was not given in October 2015 and they later met in Goldsboro to exchange $100 for a disk supposedly containing the text messages. Initially he offered the FBI officer a couple cases of beer for his help but later agreed to $100 in cash. In November 4, 2015, the agency arrested the superior North Carolina court judge for bribery and corruption. He faced about 37 years in jail. The Nigerian arrested judges will be charged to court as we await the unfolding events.