Opposition parties criticise Buhari over Onnoghen’s suspension

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen
Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen

Three opposition parties have criticised the illegal suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari, calling it an abuse of power.

KOWA party, the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) and the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) in seperate statements condemned the action which has also drawn widespread reactions including a boycott of courts for two days by lawyers.

KOWA also accused the media and relevant institutions of the government of ”not doing their jobs” in curtailing the president’s action.

President Buhari on Friday announced the suspension of Mr Onnoghen, and appointed the next most senior judge at the Supreme Court, Tanko Mohammed, as the new acting CJN.

KOWA blamed the other two arms of government (judiciary, legislature) for ”not carrying out their original function and the media as well for their carelessness towards the investigation”.

“None of the leaders of the four estates are blameless. The Executive has failed to stay within its bounds and follow due process.

“The legislature has failed in its oversight functions to call the judiciary to order when certain facts came to light. The media have failed in their investigative reporting to do the research and paint the full picture and clear up any confusion in the minds of the electorate, but the greatest failure is that of the Judiciary,” it said.

The party said the failure of individuals and institutions to carry out their responsibilities diligently spurred the party to launch a campaign called “Do Your Job” in the middle of 2018.

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”We need and want a Nigeria that works for all of us, not just a few. For that to happen, we need all our institutions to work, we need all our public officers to do their jobs properly, without fear or favour, and we need impartial incorruptible judges sitting on the bench.”

It also had flaks for the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

“The NBA needs to take drastic actions to ensure that only the best, brightest and most upright of its members attain the presidency,” the statement read.

“The NJC should take sweeping measures to clean house and rekindle the confidence in our court system that the common man used to have. The CJN who has admitted failing to properly declare his assets should be suspended or asked to resign by the NJC,” it said.

Reacting, the ANRP in a statement by its presidential candidate, Tope Fasua, described the suspension as unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

Similarly, the ANN condemned what it termed as the “sudden” suspension of the embattled judicial officer few weeks to 2019 presidential elections.

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