- The Youth Anti-Corruption Network Nigeria has reacted to the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen
- The group said suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari threatens Nigeria's democracy
- The youth group further described the president's action as contemptuous and questionable
A group, Youth Anti-Corruption Network Nigeria has described the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari as a threat to Nigeria's democracy.
The group made its stance known on Wednesday, January 31, at a press briefing in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Speaking at the briefing, the coordinator of the group, Mr. Ovo Otarigho, described the president's action as contemptuous and questionable.
His words: “We vehemently condemn and reject the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen on account of his failure to completely declare his assets, which is coming days away from the general elections. Mr President, your decision to interfere is contemptuous and questionable.
“We call on Mr. President to life the un-constitutional suspension immediately and we demand the immediate resignation of the chief justice considering the moral and ethical implication of the case.
“Mr. President, we appreciate your desire to fight corruption; however, it must be done according to the law, following due process. Non-conformity with due process alone amounts to corruption on its own and must be resisted. This action alone if not changed makes mockery of your fight against corruption in Nigeria.
“Make no mistakes about this, Mr. President; your decision to suspend the CJN threatens our democracy as it is against the principle of separation of powers. As it stands, our democracy is under attack, the judiciary is on the front-line, we the civil society will build trenches and we call on the general public to live up to their civic duties in defence of our democracy.”
The group said the fight against corruption, adding that nobody guilty of corrupt practice, should be forgiven simply because they have decamped to the ruling party.
“The case of corruption against the Kano state governor is currently being swept under the carpet, while the reporter who exposed the case is being victimized,” the group said.
The group, however, called on political parties not to take advantage of the present situation to promote hate speech and prompt their supporters into violence before, during and after elections.
Meanwhile, 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 Justice Onnoghen by President Buhari.
The party said Onnoghen who has admitted failing to properly declare his assets should be suspended or asked to resign by the National Judicial Council, but described the suspension of the CJN as unconstitutional, arguing that the presidency has failed to stay within its bounds and follow due process.
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Onnoghen's Suspension: Lawyers, Civil Group protest in Abuja | Legit TV