Former Governor of Kwara state and Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, in a statement signed and released over the weekend said the current situation in Ekiti where a Judge was beaten up by thugs portends a big threat to the Nigeria’s democracy, political stability and judicial independence.

The statement reads, The current security situation in Ekiti State today is a big threat to our nascent democracy, political stability and judicial independence. Above all, it is an afront to our peaceful co-existence in our immediate environment and to our nation in general. 

I am personally worried and concerned as a Nigerian and as a stakeholder in the Nigerian polity. Whether the Ekiti State crisis is APC or PDP driven or is as a result of an act of commission or omission, or whether it is government, group of people or individually driven, I must say without any ambiguity that this is totally unacceptable and should be dealt with immediately and decisively. 

A situation where the independence of our judiciary, its institutions and the office of our respected judicial officials are not safe to discharge and practice their constitutional responsibility and professional roles respectively calls for a signal that anarchy is about to set into our polity. It is unfortunate that at a time when we as a Nation are battling a high rate of insecurity and insurgency across the country, such assault is being unleashed on a Judge of a High Court on official duty. This brings a deeper thought to the level of leadership we are providing to this country. 

It is appalling that the Federal government, the Presidency and the ruling party; the Peoples Democratic Party-PDP, has either refused, neglected or failed to make a formal pronouncement on the attack on one of the High Court judges in Ekiti State. This is a sign of bad leadership. A precarious situation of this nature should not be sacrifice for political expediency. This is unacceptable. 

The National Judicial Council, National Judicial Institute, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Body of Benchers and other related judicial bodies must also condemn this act and show concern in respect of this barbaric attack to one of their own.

A situation where the Federal Government, the Presidency and the party that forms the government at the national level deemed it not to be concerned and decided to keep mum over the unwarranted attack on our judges is an act of dereliction of duties and responsibilities. If the symbol of the common man on the street and the abode of his last hope is being diminished and degraded or insulted by whoever personalty or group of people, and we all see it as one of those minor issues, I am afraid to say that the leadership of this country has failed all of us in this regard. 

Let me reiterate it once again as I always say, Nigeria is bigger than all of us as individuals or group of people. Nobody, I repeat, nobody should be above the law. The situation in Ekiti state is an indication that anything goes in Nigeria. For a public official in the temple of justice to be so attacked and humiliated while on official duty and the Federal government is looking the other way round is unacceptable and should be rejected by all concerned Nigerians. An attack on one judicial officer is an attack to the entire judicial institutions and all that represent it. An attack on a judicial officer is an attack on our democracy and its institutions, an attack on any judicial officer is an attack to the last hope of common man, while an attack on a judicial officer is an attack to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which we all swore to defend and protect. 

I hereby call on the Federal Government, the Presidency, NJC, NJI, NBA and other relevant private and public institutions to make a pronouncement forthwith without delay and condemn this criminal atrocity and act of affront to our collective sensibility . This act must stop and government must stop it. What impression are we giving the outside world where the sanctity of the rule of law has been undermined? It should not be under any guise. This is not about politics, it is not about election neither is it about any personality. It is about our judicial institution and the respect it deserves and the need to uphold it’s sanctity. 

Anything short of this portends dangers and anarchy against Nigeria as a Nation and it should be resisted forthwith.

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