Onnoghen's Suspension: US Mission expresses Concern

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The Code of Conduct Tribunal has granted an Interim Order in favour of the Federal Government and subsequently used by President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The gubernatorial candidate faulted what he called "ongoing partisan diatribes" and heated controversies over what was right or not.

The president on Friday said he had suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen who has been asked to appear before a tribunal over allegations of breaching asset-declaration rules.

"We call on all well meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of democracy and save our nation from this imminent slide into tyranny", the PDP said in its statement. Our constitution is clear on how a Chief Justice is appointed and removed, as such does not lie on the prerogative of the President.

In separate statements on Sunday in Abuja, the CDD Director, Idayat Hassan and the TMG Chairperson, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, were however unanimous in asking the President to reinstate Justice Onnoghen and allow justice to take its course on the matter.

Under the Nigerian constitution, the Senate has to approve an application for the removal of the chief justice by a two-thirds majority.

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"The timing, just before the swearing in of justices for Electoral Tribunals and the hearing of election-related cases, has also raised concerns about the opportunity for electoral justice", the European Union's election-observer mission said. "They know that Nigerians have rejected them because they have failed in the past", he said.

"I also urge the worldwide community to follow the commendable example of the United States and the United Kingdom by intervening to make those involved in this undemocratic act know that their actions will have consequences".

In another reaction, Senate President Bukola Saraki, expressed concern over the suspension of Onnoghen.

Abubakar, a former vice-president, said the suspension of Onnoghen was "symptomatic of the increasing desperation" of his rival to cling on to power.

The Nigerian Bar Association has called Buhari's move an "attempted coup against the Nigerian judiciary". "I believe the other arms of government will stand against it".

Abubakar questioned why due process was not allowed to run its course and called for the global community to threaten "strong consequences" for anyone involved.