- The KOWA party has given its thoughts on the trending debate concerning Justice Walter Onnoghen
- The party said the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) who has admitted failing to properly declare his assets should be suspended or asked to resign
- The party however described the suspension of the CJN as unconstitutional
The KOWA party has asked the Nigerian judiciary to put its house in order over repeated allegations of corruption involving members of the bar and bench.
The party stated this in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Sunday, January 27, by its national publicity secretary, Habiba Balogun, in reaction to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The party said the CJN who has admitted failing to properly declare his assets should be suspended or asked to resign by the National Judicial Council.
The party however described the suspension of the CJN as unconstitutional, arguing that the presidency has failed to stay within its bounds and follow due process.
Part of the statement read: “KOWA Party has observed with a growing sense of distress the circumstances that led to the unconstitutional suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by the President on Friday 25th January, 2019.
“None of the leaders of the four estates are blameless. The executive has failed to stay within its bounds and follow due process. The legislature has failed in its oversight functions to call the judiciary to order when certain facts came to light. The media have failed in their investigative reporting to do the research and paint the full picture and clear up any confusion in the minds of the electorate, but the greatest failure is that of the judiciary.
“The National Judicial Council (NJC) has the responsibility of ensuring that only upstanding judges serve in our courts. They have repeatedly failed to do so; and when facts emerged about the CJN’s failure to declare all his significant assets, they failed the country once again, by not acting to isolate the judiciary as a whole from his personal travails, thereby setting the scene for a clash with the executive, when they are fully aware of how high the stakes are and the pressure that this political season has placed on all the other arms of government.”
The party also called on the nation's judiciary, to take take advantage of the present crisis and turn it into the best opportunity, to put its house in order.
“The NBA needs to take drastic actions to ensure that only the best, brightest and most upright of its members attain the presidency.
“The NJC should take sweeping measures to clean house and rekindle the confidence in our court system that the common man used to have. The CJN who has admitted failing to properly declare his assets should be suspended or asked to resign by the NJC.
“The legislature should focus on its oversight and keeping the executive in check. It should insist on the reversal of the unconstitutional acts that have been executed, and invite the executive to address the legislature on the issue for a proper determination.
“The executive should start being proactive rather than reactive, act impartially, and react faster, to allow sufficient time to follow due process and not succumb to dictatorial and militaristic tactics that our polity and our people refuse to accept or condone,” the party said.
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on Sunday, January 27, rejected the suspension of Onnoghen by President Buhari.
In a statement sent to journalists by its national secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, PANDEF called for the immediate reinstatement of the CJN.
The group stated that the action of the president was akin to suspending the constitution and enthroning dictatorship, anarchy and self-help.
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