US Speaks Against Onnoghen’s Suspension
The United States on Saturday, January 26, expressed “deep concern” over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Nigeria’s supreme leader had wielded the big stick on Onnoghen yesterday and immediately appointed Tanko Mohammed as acting CJN, citing an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
“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,” Buhari had said.
But in a statement issued today, the US embassy in Nigeria said it had taken note of widespread criticisms that the suspension is illegal.
“The Embassy of the United States is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections,” the statement read.
“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.
“We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria. Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.”
The statement comes after award-winning singer Davido, expressed his fears about the danger democracy is currently facing in the country.