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Embattled Justice Onnoghen To Be Replaced By Justice Tanko Ibrahim Mohammed
Quote:Embattled Justice Walter Onnoghen to Be Replaced by Justice Tanko Ibrahim Mohammed by Cabals

The Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen has come under FG radar and will be docked in the CCT’s accused box on Monday. The FG accused the Justice of irregularities in his asset declaration. Recall that the last high profile case handled by the CCT was against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, where-in the case was quashed for having no substance and basing its findings on hearsays. Onnoghen who upheld the verdict of the court, has today come under investigation and further litigation by the code of conduct Bureau. 

Following the inability of the ruling APC to secure the interest of Nigerians ahead of the 2019 polls, the ruling APC has resorted to rigging plans and also seeking legal backings for them. While the rigging plans are in full force with the recent appointment of Amina Zakari as head of collation, the APC-led FG also needs legal backing for their plans to fully materialize. This is the reason why they have turned on Justice Onnoghen, who has been a clog in the wheels of their nefarious activities. 

Upon this, lots of legal luminaries have volunteered to help the embattled Justice win the case. The cabals have however picked a favorite; Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the next Chief Justice of the Federation if their plans fall through.

[Image: 8484789_screenshot20190112153028867_jpeg...7edc100a49]
Prominent lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome has reacted to the allegations levelled against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Onnoghen has been accused of maintaining domiciliary accounts with foreign currencies in various banks.

Also, it is alleged that the CJN failed to declare some of his assets.

According to, Ozekhome said the allegations levelled against Justice Onnoghen is politically motivated.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also said it is funny for the Federal Government to take up the case now, noting that the CJN is vested with the authority to constitute the 2019 presidential election petition tribunal.

Ozekhome added that Onnoghen cannot be forced to leave office, unless he is found guilty.

He said “The CJN can be removed from office either if he has been convicted or if under section 291 of the constitution, the Senate affirms a request by the President to remove him by two-third majority vote. 

“Our system of justice being Anglo-Saxon based, which is accusatorial, meaning that the innocence of a person is presumed.

 “It is different from the criminal justice system of the French model which is inquisitorial, wherein the guilt of an accused person is presumed.

 “This doctrine has been encapsulated in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, that the person’s innocence is presumed until he has been proven guilty.

“Assuming for example that Senator Bukola Saraki had been forced to resign his office when charges were brought against him before the same Code of Conduct Tribunal almost three years ago, what would have happened and what would have been his fate when the Supreme Court eventually discharged and acquitted him of the charge, following judgments and earlier order of the Court of Appeal and the Code of Conduct Tribunal itself?

 “If you ask me, I sense serious political undertones oozing from this so-called imminent arraignment of the noble CJN. Question, when did they discover the alleged offence for which they now want to charge him on Monday?

 “Was it just yesterday, was it last week, two weeks or six months ago? The CJN has been in office now for well over one year, how come that this misconduct or whatever offence that he is being alleged, was not seen up to now?

“How come, that it is just less than 40 days to the 2019 Presidential election, when the CJN is going to play the major role in constituting the Presidential election petition tribunal, that he is being moved against? Who is afraid of the Judiciary? 

“Who is afraid of Justice Onnoghen and his impartiality and straightforwardness? 

“How come we are reducing governance in Nigeria to one of impunity, one of despotism and one of absolutism.

 “Don’t this people know that the world is laughing at us? Did we not see how Dino Melaye was yanked out from police hospital and taken to DSS quarters when he had no business or case with the DSS and DSS had no case against him.

“Did they not see Dino Melaye, a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sleeping in the open yesterday? Do they go on social media and do they watch international televisions?

 “Do they know how the whole world is deriding us in this country? That governance has been reduced to mere witch-hunt, very opaque, very unaccountable, very un-transparent and very very fascist! Can’t they see that?”
A Clarion Call In Defence Of Our Constitution 
I have received the news of the sudden charges about to be filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, with apprehension and suspicion especially as such a move against the head of an arm of our government is coming so close to an election in which the Buhari administration has shown growing desperation.

My suspicions are further exacerbated by the fact that the Buhari government is pressuring an independent and self governing arm of government with the aim of getting CJN Walter Onnoghen to resign or be pushed aside.

I stand on the side of the rule of law and believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty and note that a media trial is no trial.

If Justice Walter Onnoghen is guilty of the charges about to be preferred against him, let his guilt be determined by a competent court of law and not by the Buhari administration. The executive cannot usurp the role of the judiciary. Nigeria is still a democracy and not a fascist dictatorship as President Buhari may wish.

Any attempt to force Justice Walter Onnoghen to vacate his office, 4 weeks to an election for which the unpopular Buhari administration has shown every intention to manipulate, is a move pregnant with negative meaning.

I see no reason whatsoever for the ongoing pressure by the Buhari government to force Justice Walter Onnoghen to vacate office when he has not been convicted for any offence.

Nigerians may recall that this government has a history of manipulating the law against the heads of arms of government it considers unfriendly to its cause. A case in point is their malicious prosecution and persecution of the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Bukola Saraki.

I therefore call on the President to respect the principle of separation of powers and abide by the rule of law on this matter and stop any interference or pressure on Justice Walter Onnoghen or the judiciary and allow the law and the constitution take its full course.

Atiku Abubakar
Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007
Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party

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