- A centre in Nigeria has provided the US, UK and other members of the diplomatic community details to Justice Walter Onnoghen's suspension as Chief Justice of Nigeria
- SHAC said the controversy trailing the removal of Onnoghen was needless because the Nigeria's constitution is clear on the crime committed by the embattled CJN
- The centre also urged the diplomatic communities avoid unguarded public statements that could incite the general public given the peculiarities of the times in question
A civil society organisation has provided the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other nation's government the reason behind the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The organisation, Save Humanity Advocacy Centre said the controversy trailing the removal of Onnoghen was needless because the Constitution of the country was clear on the crime committed by the embattled CJN.
In a letter addressed to the Ambassador of the United States of America and signed by the director of communication at SHAC, Patrick Akpokwu, the organisation said the US, UK and the European Union did not have full insight on why Onnoghen was asked to step aside.
Akpokwu said urged the diplomatic communities avoid unguarded public statements that could incite the general public given the peculiarities of the time in question.
The letter reads in part: "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.” the letter to the countries read.
Continuing, Akpokwu said such an alleged act cannot be condoned in saner climes including US, , Britain, and France.
He further said that SHAC expected that members of the diplomatic community would not join the select few that have given some form of political interpretation to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria from office.
He also urged members of the diplomatic communities to exercise 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," Akpokwu said.
PAY ATTENTION: Get the Latest Nigerian News Anywhere 24/7. Spend less on the Internet!
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, January 30, dismissed the motion filed by the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen, to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from trying him.
The reason for the court's rejection of the former CJN's plea was that his request lacked legal backing that should persuade it to honour his prayer.
The ruling of the Court of Appeal invariably means that the CCT can proceed with the trial of the CJN over alleged false declaration of asset.
NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng: Same great journalism, upgraded for better service!
South-South governors condemn trial of CJN Onnoghen | Legit TV