West-Idahosa Challenges Buhari’s Decision To Suspend Onnoghen
A former Member of the House of Representatives, lawyer and policy expert Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa has checked the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen.
Buhari had disclosed on Friday that he received a letter from the Code of Conduct Tribunal ordering him to suspend Onnoghen over an alleged breach of office.
Onnoghen had been accused of under declaring his assets in the Asset Declaration Form and his accuser, a former aide to Muhammadu Buhari petitioned the CCT.
On Friday afternoon, Buhari announced the suspension of Onnoghen
pending final determination of the cases against him. He president also invited the next in line, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed JSC to take his place.
“Accordingly, I hereby suspend the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen, GCON as the Chief Justice of Nigeria pending final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“In further compliance with the same Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, I hereby invite Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed JSC,being the next most Senior Justice in the Supreme Court, to come forward to take the Judicial Oath as Chief Justice of Nigeria in an Acting Capacity.
“Fellow Nigerians, we can only stand a chance to win the fight against Corruption, and position our dear nation for accelerated development when we stand together to contend against it. Thank you and may God bless our country. ”
In his reaction, West-Idahosa downplayed the President’s action, arguing that the order was made by an inferior tribunal.
“This Tribunal Order purportedly relied on by President Buhari in suspending the CJN is of no effect, having been made by an inferior tribunal at a time when a motion for stay of proceedings was pending before the court of Appeal to stay proceedings before the CCT.
“How can such an inferior court grant such a far reaching order even after becoming aware of the matter in the court of appeal. Even in the face of the principle of stare decisis, the CCT has chosen to endanger our sovereignty as a nation. Our democracy is constitutional and should not be undermined by the abuse of court process.
“What the CCT has done is reprehensible and an affront on the Nigerian legal system. This should not be allowed in a sane society. No one should toy with the independence of the judiciary under any guise.
The renown lawyer urged the Court of Appeal to set aside the order for the sake of national interest.