👤 Danjuma Aliyu, DENISAURUS News
The United State Embassy in Nigeria has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari over his decision to remove Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice days before the national and state elections.
Justice Onnoghen was suspended by the President over allegation of corruption. A replacement, Justice Tanko Mohammed was sworn in immediately.
The President said his decision was directed by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
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“A short while ago, I was served with an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal issued on Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, directing the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen from office pending final determination of the cases against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and several other fora relating to his alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers,” he said.
But, the US Mission said it was “deeply concerned by the impact” of the decision taken by the 76-year-old President who is seeking re-election.
“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.
“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.”
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