*Says corruption, not judiciary is on trial
By Kemi Kasumu
The ongoing clampdown on some judges across the country has been described as an action against corrupt judicial officers but not an attempt to ridicule the institution of judiciary as an arm of government.
The Presidency, stating this in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Sunday, gave the assurance that the President reserved his highest respect for the institution of the judiciary as the third arm of government and would not do anything to undermine its independence.
Shehu’s statement was coming in reaction to the criticisms that had trailed the clampdown on some Nigerian judges by security agencies over allegations of corruption.
It stated that President Buhari remained a committed democrat, in words and in his actions, and that he would not take any action in violation of the constitution.
The statement explained that the recent “surgical operation” against some judicial officers was specifically targeted at corruption and not at the judiciary as an institution.
It stated that, “In a robust democracy such as ours, there is bound to be a plurality of opinions on any given issue, but there is a convergence of views that the country has a corruption problem that needs to be corrected.
“But reports by a section of the media are giving us cause for concern.
“In undertaking the task of reporting, the media should be careful about the fault lines they open. It is wrong to present this incident as a confrontation between the executive and judicial arms of government.
“The Presidency has received assurances from the DSS that all due processes of the law, including the possession of search and arrest warrants were obtained before the searches.
“To suggest that the government is acting outside the law in a dictatorial manner is to breach the interest of the state,” he stated.