During the Christmas holidays in December 2023, the official residence of Retired Justice Muhammad Dattijo at the Supreme Court was burgled.
The quarters for Supreme Court justices are in Maitama in Abuja.
Sources privy to the incident told SaharaReporters that the home was stripped bare as the burglars “took everything from the house”.
“The burglary took place at the quarters for Supreme Court justices in Maitama. It occurred over the Christmas holidays and Dattijo was travelling out of the country at the time,” one of the sources said.
Dattijo, who retired from the Supreme Court on October 27, 2023, knocked his colleagues on his way out.
He described the apex court as rotten and characterised by filth.
He lamented that the apex court had been pervaded by bribery and perversion of justice, adding that it was dangerous for two out of the six geopolitical zones of the country to be excluded from the bench of the Supreme Court hearing appeals on the presidential election.
Lamenting that the appointments of judicial officers have been political, selfish and sectional interests, he said, “It is asserted that the process of appointment to judicial positions is deliberately conducted to give undue advantage to the children, spouses and mistresses of serving and retired judges and managers of judicial offices.
“At the Court of Appeal, it is asserted, presiding justices are now being appointed out of turn. And there is the further issue of the unpredictable nature of recent decisions of the courts as well.
“A number of respected senior members of the bar inter alia, citing Ahmed Lawan, the former President of the Senate and Imo governorship appeals, claim that decisions of even the apex court have become unpredictable.
“It is difficult to understand how and where, by these decisions, the judicial pendulum swings. It was not so before, they contended.
“In some quarters, the view is strongly held that filth and intrigues characterise the institution these days. Judges are said to be comfortable in companies they never would have kept in the past. It is being insinuated that some judicial officers even campaign for politicians. It cannot be more damnifying.”
According to him, some years ago, “appointment to the bench was strictly on merit. Sound knowledge of the law, integrity, honour and hard work distinguished those who were elevated”.
He continued, “Lobbying was unheard of. I never lobbied, not at any stage of my career, to secure any appointment or elevation. As much as possible, the most qualified men and women were appointed. That can no longer be said about appointments to the bench.
“The judiciary must be uniquely above board. Appointments should not be polluted by political, selfish and sectional interests. The place of merit, it must be urged, cannot be overemphasised.
“Public perceptions of the judiciary have over the years become witheringly scornful and monstrously critical,” he lamented and called for urgent reform in the judiciary to correct the alleged anomalies.”