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Saraki says President Buhari went against constitution by suspending CJN

Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki considers the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen as a gross violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari claims that he replaced Justice Walter Onnoghen temporarily on Friday, January 25, 2019, following a directive given by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). [NGRPresident]

On Friday, January 25, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari announced Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as a temporary replacement for the suspended Onnoghen who is being tried by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for failing to declare his assets which include bank accounts containing foreign currencies.

The president confirmed that the reason for the removal is as a result of a directive from the CCT.

Saraki counters this in a statement he personally signed on Friday, declaring that the duty of benching Justice Walter Onnoghen should be a joint effort between the executive, legislature and the judiciary.

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By solely making the decision to sideline the Chief Judge means a breach of process.

"By unilaterally suspending the CJN without following the provision of the constitution, President Buhari has sent a dangerous signal to the entire world that Nigeria is no longer a democratic nation and that we have returned to the old, jaded era of military dictatorship .

“Our constitution makes no provision for suspension of the nation’s highest judicial officer. The constitution provides a clear process for removal of the CJN and specify the roles of the three arms of government, beginning from the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Assembly and lastly, the Presidency, have different roles to play in that process.

"There is no condition under which the President can usurp the powers of other arms of government," Dr. Bukola Saraki says in a statement.

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He has called for reactions to put an end to the independent move made by the president.

Earlier, the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar also called for the reinstatement of the CJN describing his removal as undemocratic and a strategy Buhari hopes to use to win the presidential election on February 16.

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