- President Buhari has been commended for suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria
- The commendation was given to the president by the Centre for International and Strategy Studies
- According to the centre, President Buhari's compliance with the order of the CCT was not only reasonable and timely, but necessary to salvage the partly battered image of the Nigerian judiciary
The Centre for International and Strategy Studies, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
The CISS breaking its long silence on the controversy rocking the presidency and the judiciary said President Buhari's action against the CJN was a right step in the right direction.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, January 28, CISS president, David Bamidele, aid the suspension of the CJN, Justice Onnoghen by President Buhari in compliance with the order of the CCT was not only reasonable and timely, but necessary to salvage the partly battered image of the Nigerian judiciary.
He said the president's decision was to protect democracy from the class of the few bad characters in the judicial and political system.
"In a nation-wide address, the President explained that the decision to suspend Justice Onnoghen was spurred by the wisdom of the CCT, the only court which has the lawful mandate to pry into matters of alleged breach of Code of Conduct prescribed for public officers, pending final determination of the charges against him at the CCT.
"About fortnight ago, Nigerians were assailed with the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct laws by the CJN through a petition signed by the Executive Director, Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, Mr. Dennis Aghanya. According the petitioner, the NGO painstakingly investigated the CJN, which commenced about a year ago. The details of the alleged offences against the CJN are in public domain," Bamidele said.
Stating the the suspended CJN allegedly operated and failed to declare or improperly declared three domiciliary accounts in Standard Chartered Bank with about $3 million stashed in them among other charges, Bamidele said the embattled CJN has lost all morality to remain on the seat
He said the efforts of the present government to sanitize and rid the judiciary of corrupt officers shadowed since 2016 when the DSS arrested seven judges, including two Supreme Court judges for alleged corruption during a sting operation.
Bamidele added that the case of the suspended CJN is therefore not exceptional to all the above mentioned cases.
"The ordinary Nigerian has always craved to have a dependable judiciary; a true temple of justice, where all who approach it shall be entitled to equity and fair hearing; a where judgments’ would truly reflect the merits of the dispute before the court for resolution.
"But sadly, much of the uprightness expected from the Nigerian judiciary is a mirage, as attested in the quantum of petitions against some judges to the National Judicial Commission (NJC). In 2016, in the heat of the arrest and trial of some judges, the NJC disclosed that 808 Justices in Nigeria have been petitioned by Nigerians over allegations of corrupt practices and professional misconducts.
"It exposes the level of discontent in Nigerians over the operations of the judiciary and conduct of judicial officers. And it is unfortunate to understand the Number One Judicial officer in Nigeria is also embroiled in these sordid allegations.
"Nigeria is heading to its worse moments in drifting negatively. It is surprising that some accused persons who are arraigned in court approach other courts of even concurrent jurisdiction to obtain injunctions to halt such trials. And some presiding Judges go ahead in their wisdom to grant such frivolous injunction," Bamidele noted.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the National Judicial Committee has issued a seven-day ultimatum on Justice Onnoghen to respond to a petition filed against him by the office of the attorney-general of the federation.
According to reports, the emergency meeting took place on Tuesday, January 29.
The NJC also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the acting CJN, Ibrahim Muhammad, to respond to alleged breach of its rule.
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