Published: Mon, January 28, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Countries Concerned by Suspension of Nigerian Chief Justice

Countries Concerned by Suspension of Nigerian Chief Justice

"The PDP has been informed of how the Buhari Presidency has been unsettled following national and global outcry over his constitutional breaches, particularly the assault on the judiciary in his attempt to forcefully remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and impose a pliable CJN to do his bidding".

The chief justice could preside over a disputed election result.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term in office, suspended Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen on Friday over allegedly breaching asset-declaration rules, drawing criticism at home and overseas.

"And for such further order (s) as this Honourable Tribunal may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case".

The Nigerian government said the suspension stood until the conclusion of Onnoghen's trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In his place, Justice Ibrahim Tanko, who is the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Abubakar questioned why due process was not allowed to run its course and called for the worldwide community to threaten "strong consequences" for anyone involved.

The human right activist said after the suspension has been lifted, the Chief Justice should quit the bench because he has already admitted that he failed in his duty to declare his asset as required by the constitution.

Buhari has previously been accused of using state security apparatus to target political opponents from the PDP, but being less swift to act against members of his own party.

Abubakar's People's Democratic Party said Saturday morning on Twitter that it would stop campaigning for three days and that Buhari, a former military ruler, had "effectively suspended the constitution".

According to her, it was worrisome that the interference by the President in another arm of government portends dangers for the nation's democracy, and specifically, the 2019 electoral process.

On Thursday, an appeals court had issued an interim order to stop charges being brought against the chief justice.

Law professor Itse Sagay, who heads a government-appointed advisory body on graft, defended Buhari, who indicated Onnoghen should have recused himself after being charged.

Debo Adeniran of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders lobby group also backed the president, saying the suspension would "send a correct signal to other judges to sit up", he said.

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