Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, on Thursday called on Nigerians to cease further pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari over his confirmation as the substantive CJN, saying the president should be allowed a freehand to perform his constitutional duties as it relates to the appointment of the CJN.
In a statement by his media aide, Awassam Bassey, Onnoghen noted, “Nigerians to allow Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, a free hand to perform his constitutional duties concerning the appointment of a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.”
“Honourable Justice Onnoghen believes the president does not need any threat or ultimatum to perform his constitutional duties and therefore dissociates himself from those individuals and groups making such demands on the president,” his spokesperson said.
“However, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian Judiciary sincerely appreciate the interest of Nigerians towards the appointment of a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria to oversee the affairs of the Judiciary as the third arm of government, but believes that issuing an ultimatum to Mr. President appears to be going too far and smacks of disrespect for the exalted office of the president.
“The Acting Chief Justice therefore appeals for caution on the issue of the appointment of Chief Justice of Nigeria as Mr President goes about his constitutional duties, especially considering the fact that the given time for him to act as Chief Justice of Nigeria has not expired.
“In conclusion, the Acting Chief Justice wishes to thank all Nigerians for their support and continued prayers while calling on them to back the Federal Government in the fight to make the country a better place for all.”
Prominent Nigerians have carpeted Buhari for not confirming Onnoghen as substantive CJN, alleging that there are plans by the President to appoint a northerner. The appointment of Onnoghen as the Acting CJN will lapse on February 10, 2017.