Nigeria arrests judges in anti-corruption raids
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was elected last year on an anti-corruption platform, vowing to stamp out corruption that is rampant in the oil-rich country. Photograph: (AFP)
Nigeria's secret police has seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and assets in a series of anti-corruption raids that targeted senior judges, drawing condemnation from the bar association and rights groups.
The Department of State Services (DSS) said it had seized $800,000 (715,000 euros) in cash during the operation which was launched on the basis of "allegations of corruption and professional misconduct" by a number of judges, AFP reported.
"The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these judges," the DSS statement said,AFP reported.
The nationwide operation took place on Saturday and according to AFP police detained seven judges.
The raids led the Nigerian Bar Association to declare a state of emergency, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari's spokesman to defend the operation.
A source at DSS headquarters told AFP "about four or five judges are here with us writing statements".
Buhari was elected last year on an anti-corruption platform, vowing to stamp out corruption that is rampant in the oil-rich country.
But critics have accused the former military ruler of using his anti-graft crackdown to silence political opponents and crush dissent.
Bar Association head Abubakar Mahmoud lashed out at Buhari over the raids.
"We are not under military rule and we cannot accept this unholy event and Gestapo-style operation," he told reporters.
The DSS said it was preparing criminal cases against the judges.
(WION with inputs from AFP)