- The United States government, United Kingdom and France have been warned against making 'undiplomatic' comments that could heat up the polity in Nigeria
- The warning to the countries was issued by a civil society organisation
- Concerned Nigerians urged these countries to respect Nigeria and her decision and stop meddling in her affairs
A civil society organisation has warned the United States government, United Kingdom and France against making undiplomatic comments that could heat up the polity in Nigeria.
The organisation gave the warning at a massive rally in support of President Muhammadu Buhari and the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen in an alleged false declaration matter.
Rallying at the embassies of the United States of America, France and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, the Concerned Nigerians urged these countries to respect Nigeria and her decision and stop meddling in her affairs.
The convener of the protesting group, Okpokwu Ogenyi, said the decision of the presidency to suspend Onnoghen was in order and should not be politicised.
Ogenyi said: "Please note that The 1999 Nigeria Constitution, as amended, is very clear on assets declaration by public officials. Declaration of assets by public officers in Nigeria is not a voluntary exercise. Instead, they are mandated by the law to do so before and after occupying public offices.
"The Constitution in Section 172 states, “A person in the public service of the Federation shall observe and conform to the Code of Conduct.”
"Paragraph 11 of the Code of Conduct (Ethics of Work for Public Officers) stipulates that, “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter:(a) at the end of every four years; and (b) at the end of the term of office; submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of 18 years.
"And that “Any statement in such declaration that is found to be false by any authority or person authorized in that behalf to verify it shall be deemed to be a breach of this Code. Any property or assets acquired by a public officer after any declaration required under this Constitution and which is not fairly attributable to income, gift or loan approved by this Code shall be deemed to have been acquired in breach of this Code unless the contrary is proved.”
"Hence public declaration of assets is best recommended so that both the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) together with its Tribunal (CCT) and the general public may work in agreement.
"The Ambassadors may wish to know that there are stipulated penalties for violation of the CCB law in Nigeria regardless of the position the individual occupies as the law is no respecter of persons," Ogenyi said.
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According to the group, the embattled CJN for inexplicable reasons decided to act in a contrary and morally bankrupt manner by not declaring parts of his assets.
The CSO said that such act he attributed to “forgetfulness" cannot be condoned in any saner clime.
"Dear Ambassadors, such an act cannot be condoned in a sane clime, and even in America, Britain, and France," Ogenyi said.
He also said that the CSO expects that members of the Diplomatic community would at some point appreciate the efforts of the present administration in sanitizing the system and some restraint in public conduct given that the general elections are around the corner so as not to send the wrong message to the voting public.
"Nigeria is a sovereign country, and as such, that must be clearly understood and appreciated by all, including members of the Diplomatic community in Nigeria. Respect for our people and values are sacrosanct. Unguarded public statements could incite the general public given the peculiarities of the time we have found ourselves. And so they should be minimized or avoided if possible.
"The fact remains that the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria violated the law and not a case of witch hunting or political persecution. And there are penalties for breaking the law the world over, Nigeria inclusive." he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Code of Conduct Tribunal has adjourned indefinitely the trial of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria who is facing charges of alleged non-declaration of assets at the tribunal.
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At the resumed hearing on Monday, January 28, the chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, while giving his ruling said the matter has been adjourned sine dine pending ruling of the Court of Appeal on the application for stay of proceeding filed by Onnoghen.
The CCT chairman upon presiding over the matter at 11.24 am on Monday, January 28, had apologised for the delay over today's hearing.
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