The South-South Elders Forum, based in the Niger Delta, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to apologize to the family of Justice Mary Odili, Justice of the Supreme Court, JSC, for the security invasion of her Abuja apartment over the weekend.
The invasion, according to the group, was an attempt by the executive to intimidate the judiciary, another branch of government.
It further stated that the invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s family was an affront to the South-South people, as it was the second effort to humiliate a high-ranking judicial officer from the Niger Delta region.
According to a statement released by His Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe, the National Coordinator of the South-South Elders Forum, the way things are going in the country, the Southern Nigerians and the Niger Delta Region will no longer believe that they are citizens of Nigeria.
“On behalf of the Elders and People of the Niger Delta Region, we condemn the invasion of His Excellency Sir (Dr.) Peter Odili and Hon. Justice Mary Odili’s Abuja residence,” the statement stated.
Nigeria is a democracy founded on the separation of powers, which means that no one arm should victimize or intimidate the other.
“The situation in which the Executive Arm has been unable to rid itself of corruption and is instead endorsing it, cannot and does not have the moral authority to be harsh, intimidate, and bully the other branches of government in the name of fighting corruption.”
We interpret the Executive’s action as an intentional attempt to frighten Judiciary officers of Southern Nigerian descent.
Like in the case of terrorism in Nigeria, the current administration was ready to label IPOB a terrorist organization while refusing to name the perpetrators.
In North Nigeria, terrorists are referred to as bandits rather than terrorists.
“With the way things are going in this country, the people of Southern Nigeria and the Niger Delta would no longer feel that Nigeria is their country.”
As a result, Mr. President should address the nation boldly to reaffirm his inaugural statement of May 27, 2015, “I am for everyone and I belong to nobody,” or we will be corrected that Mr. President is not keeping his promise.
“Enough with the mistreatment of the leaders of the Niger Delta and Southern Nigeria.”
Mr. President, in your capacity as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Executive Branch of the Nigerian State,
should express regret to His Excellency (Sir) Dr. Peter Odili, “the former Governor of Rivers State,” and his wife, Hon. Justice Mary Odili JSC, the Supreme Court of Nigeria’s second-highest Judiciary Officer.
“This is the second time this administration has degraded senior Niger Delta judiciary officers. It was first Hon. Justice Walter Onneghen, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, whose home was invaded in January 2019, and now Hon. Justice Mary Odili, the second-highest-ranking Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
The people of the Niger Delta, according to the statement, are dissatisfied with what has occurred in the country, particularly as it affects the inhabitants of the region.
“Finally, the Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, should not continue to do things that would lead to chaos, divisiveness, and disintegration of the country,” the statement said.