Justice Onnoghen’s suspension unconstitutional, says PANDEF

Justice Onnoghen’s suspension unconstitutional, says PANDEF

- More groups continue to condemn the recent suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari

- The Chief Justice of Nigeria was shown the way out by the president on Friday, January 25 in a move that has been widely described as unconstitutional

- The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has rejected the suspension of Onnoghen and asked for his immediate reinstatement

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on Sunday, January 27, rejected the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement sent to journalists by its national secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, PANDEF asked for the immediate reinstatement of the CJN.

The group stated that the action of the Federal Government was akin to suspending the constitution and enthroning dictatorship, anarchy and self-help

PANDEF also called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to boycott the courts pending the reversal of the alleged illegality.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen: Buhari invites APC senators ahead of Senate's meeting

Part of the statement read: “It is important to recall that PANDEF had raised concern that the hasty arraignment of Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, coming barely one month to the general elections, was politically motivated, and was a ploy to force the CJN out of office without recourse to due process of law as well as to make way for enthronement of their own person, in this case, the Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to do their bidding.

“Clearly, the judicial arm, which is the pillar of integrity upon which our democracy rests, is under siege. Separation of powers and rule of law are threatened.

“Indeed the independence of the judiciary shall be subjugated and consumed if this brazen action is allowed to stand. The principles and tenets for rule of law and judiciary, being the hope of the common man, are being jeopardised.”

The body also appealed to patriotic Nigerians to rise against what it called, “monumental absurdity of the century.”

It added: “Let all Nigerians of goodwill stand united on this matter and challenge this despotic action of the president, which remains illegal and unconstitutional, and therefore null and void.

“Let us restate that PANDEF, and indeed the people of the Niger Delta region and the south-south, shall not tolerate the lawlessness and continued persecution of our people by this Buhari-led Federal Government.

“We shall employ all legitimate means to demonstrate our insistence and demand on the reversal of the illegal removal of CJN Walter Onnoghen. This country belongs to all of us, and we are critical stakeholders in the Nigerian state.”

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Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, YIAGA Africa Initiative, has called on President Buhari to reverse the suspension of the Onnoghen within seven days.

Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo made the call on the sidelines of a media roundtable on the 2019 elections and Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) on Saturday, January 26.

Itodo said attempts to rationalize the action taken by the president, “is completely irresponsible and should not be tolerated in anyway.”

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