Onnoghen Saga: S/S Govs Fire Buhari Over Niger Delta, Judiciary

  • Urge CJN to shun CCT’s order

BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – Governors of the South-South geo-political zone have slammed the Federal Government’s moves to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) today, Monday, January 14, 2019 over alleged non-declaration of assets’ charges.

In condemning the development, they accused President Muhammadu Buhari of showing disrespect to the Niger Delta region and its people; the nation’s judiciary and democracy.

This is even as the governors have urged Justice Onnoghen “to ignore this so-called court summon from the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters.”

Rising from their emergency meeting at the Bayelsa State Governor’s lodge, Maitama, Abuja on Sunday, the governors condemned what it termed the brazen defiance of court orders by the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

In a communique read by the Bayelsa State Governor, who doubles as Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, Seriake Dickson, the forum as the decision to move against Justice Onnoghen with just a month to the 2019 presidential election smacks of deceit and is capable of over-heating the polity.

According to the governors, “We note that the unfortunate action against the CJN further reinforces the perception that the Buhari administration has no regard for the sentiments of Nigerians, in particular the people of Niger Delta, and the rule of law

“It is a fact that this administration has a penchant for flagrant disobedience of and disregard for legitimate and valid court orders.”

The communiqué further stated thus: “We expect President Buhari to know that democracy cannot survive without respect for the constitution, strict adherence to the rule of law, and separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution. “We note that under Section 158(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Judicial Council (NJC), has ample powers to deal exhaustively with matters pertaining to allegations of misconduct and discipline of Judicial officers.

“Specifically, the NJC has the powers and clear procedures for investigating allegations, and recommending appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures against judicial officials as a matter of first instance before any further steps.”

Also citing subsisting court judgment in the country, the governors said; “The judicial pronouncements in the cases of FGN Vs Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court (January 9, 2018) and Justice Ngajinwa Vs FGN 2017 at the CCT have given validation to the express provisions of the constitution on this issue.

“We note that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state including the National Assembly and the judiciary

“We believe that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has a constitutional responsibility and huge moral obligation to defend our democracy.”

“We consider this step, which is directly aimed at humiliating the nation’s highest judicial officer and a prominent son of the region, as totally unacceptable as it is reflective of the South South story of endless marginalization and intimidation.”

Further picking holes in the CCT’s arraignment, the South South governors said; “The unceremonious removal of former Acting Director General of the Department of State Service, Mathew Seiyefa and his replacement is still very fresh; we strongly believe that the regrettable development at the Supreme Court at this critical time, when preparations for the general elections are wobbling, with serious concern about the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, is capable of causing avoidable anxiety, tension and possible breakdown of law and order in the country.

“We note further that the action undermines confidence not only in the judiciary but also the electoral process that has already commenced, in view of the pivotal role that the judiciary plays in the process of electoral adjudication.

“We affirm President Buhari should know that the continuous assault on critical institutions of state is a defining feature of a dictatorship, and that the President is obliged to live up to his word that he is a born-again democrat, as he assured Nigerians in 2015.”

The Forum “condemn without any equivocation, this assault on the CJN and the judiciary especially coming after similar assaults on the National Assembly, to save the country from this embarrassment and global contempt.”

They further decried what they described as “the massive buildup of arms by All Progressives Congress (APC), leaders and members across the Niger Delta with the intent to cause mayhem and a general breakdown of law and order during the elections.”

The meeting was attended by Governors Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers). However, conspicuously missing at the meeting was Edo State, Godwin Obaseki

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply