Atiku warns against forceful removal of CJN, Onnoghen

Atiku Abubakar also said that Nigerians will resist any attempt to silence the judiciary.

Former Vice-President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar making a speech

Onnoghen, who has been accused of failing to declare his assets and operating several domiciliary bank accounts, will be arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Monday, January 14, 2019.

According to The Cable, problem started for the CJN when a group known as the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI) wrote a petition against him.

Reacting to the report, Atiku said Nigerians will resist any attempt to silence the judiciary.

The PDP presidential candidate also accused President Buhari of planning to get a new CJN who will do his bidding.

Atiku revealed that Dennis Aghanya, the Executive Secretary of the ARDI, the group that wrote the petition against Onnoghen, was the spokesman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Buhari’s former party before the merger that formed the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The presidential candidate said that there will be an epic battle if Buhari and the APC succeed in removing Onnoghen.

Atiku also faulted the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for reportedly transferring the CJN’s case to the CCT, adding that the power to punish erring judicial officers rests on the National Judicial Council (NJC).

“The proper procedure would have been for the petition to be referred to the JSC of which Onnoghen is the Chairman, but he would have to excuse himself from the process. If found guilty, he could be asked to vacate his office as CJN, in addition to other punishments,” he added.

According to Daily Post, Atiku said “We have just been made aware of the plot by President Muhammadu Buhari the All Progressives Congress (APC) to sack Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen using flimsy assets declaration issues as a pretext. We are aware that there are plans to arraign Justice Onnoghen before the Justice Danladi Yakubu Umar led- Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday, January, 14, 2019. The charge against Onnoghen, we understand has already been filed and served on him last Friday at his official residence in Abuja preparatory to his appearance at the Tribunal.

”But we warn that despite the clandestine meetings in the highest echelon of the APC and also involving some top officials of the federal government which include the Code of Conduct Tribunal, neither Buhari nor the APC can re-write the Nigerian Constitution just because of its impending defeat at the February 16, presidential election. Heavens did not fall when PDP lost to the APC in 2015. And heavens will not fall now that the APC is sure to lose to the PDP, seeing that the APC’s plan to rig in the forthcoming elections will not pull through.

”We have the strength of character, the courage and the conviction to mount a sustained campaign in defence of justice, and in defence of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution, which is the ground norm of our democracy.

“Buhari and his APC led government should not emasculate the judiciary as they tried to do the National Assembly and was resisted by the President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki. This is a brazen day light assault on the judiciary because he (Buhari wants) a pliable acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to sit on his election petition because he has seen the signal that he will lose the February 16 presidential election.”

Justice Walter Onnoghen was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by President Buhari on Thursday, November 10, 2016.

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