The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has described the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Onnoghen’s suspension was announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, January 25, 2019.

The suspended CJN was accused of failing to declare his assets as required by law.

President Buhari suspends Onnoghen, swears in Tanko Mohammed as acting CJN
President Buhari suspends Onnoghen, swears in Tanko Mohammed as acting CJN

Act of desperation

Atiku, in a statement on Twitter, said the President’s action has exposed the desperation of the Federal Government to win the upcoming elections by all means.

He said “The purported suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, is an anti-democratic act which I reject in its entirety and call on Justice Onnoghen and the judiciary to resist with every legal and constitutional means that they can muster.

“This brazen dictatorial act is the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard earned democracy by those who dined with anti-democratic forces, & is symptomatic of the increasing desperation that @MBuhari the cabal pulling the strings have as Feb 16, 2019 draws near.

The fact that the unlawful suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was announced just as it became public knowledge that the CJN was constituting the election petition tribunals is not lost on discerning Nigerians and the international community.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed an Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) three years after the last board was sacked. [The Guardian Nigeria]
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed an Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) three years after the last board was sacked. [The Guardian Nigeria]

“This act of desperation is geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 Presidential elections. Indeed, it is not just the CJN that has been "suspended", it is the Nigerian Constitution that has been infracted &, in effect, suspended, under the guise of suspension of the CJN.

“The case involving the legality or otherwise of the charges against Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is in court, as it should be. So far, the judiciary has ruled in Justice Onnoghen’s favour. So, why not allow the court to adjudicate on the matter? What is the pressing urgency?

“I want to seize this opportunity to call for unity amongst the judiciary. Do not let the Muhammadu Buhari administration divide you. Do not let this government turn you against yourselves. The judiciary is the last hope of the common man and the defender of our democracy.

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“I also urge the international 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. Strong consequences.

“And to the Nigerian electorate, I call on you to save your beloved country from dictatorship by voting against President Buhari’s desperate war against the judiciary. Our country is falling apart under the leadership of President Buhari and it is time to stand up for democracy.”

The suspension of the embattled CJN has sparked a lot of reactions on notable Nigerians.

The presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu has also condemned Onnoghen’s suspension, describing it as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.