Buhari suspends CJN Onnoghen, appoints Tanko Muhammed

Clay Curtis
January 26, 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended Nigeria's top judge pending the outcome of his disputed trial on corruption charges, the government said Friday.

"But in the character of tainted high office holders in Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen preferred to lash on to the rigmarole of legal technicalities as well as a desperately shallow opposition party that is on the lookout for anything to use to cast aspersions on President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to shore up its flagging campaign and an apparent failed effort to market a presidential candidate with questionable moral standing".

His appointment was only confirmed by parliament in March 2017, prompting speculation Buhari was not keen to endorse his candidacy.

"Section 292 of the amended 1999 Constitution is clear that the President can only remove the CJN with 2/3 of Senate resolution".

"Onnoghen's illegal removal was aimed at stopping the swearing in of members of the 2019 general election petition tribunal", said CUPP spokesman Ikegna Imo Ugochinyere.

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It added: "President Buhari's action in attempting to unilaterally appoint a Chief Justice and foist him on our country is a direct invitation to anarchy, national confusion and a monumental crisis capable of derailing our democracy and destroying our corporate existence as a nation". He has simply sent a risky 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. There is no condition under which the President can usurp the powers of other arms of government.

Signed by Kola Ologbondiyan National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO), the statement said Nigerians must reject the incendiary move by President Buhari to forcefully suspend the constitution, annex the judicial arm of government and open the nation up for full-blown totalitarianism to achieve his self-succession bid, having realized that he can not win in the 2019 general election.

It said further that "Resignation was the only meaningful option for the suspended Chief Justice". It is odd that President Buhari is claiming to be taking orders from a Tribunal which has been ordered by a superior court to halt all actions on the trial.

He however called on President Buhari to immediately reverse this decision and allow the due process of law to take its natural course in determining the guilt or otherwise as well as the suitability of Hon. Justice Onnoghen to continue as the head of the nation's judiciary.

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