Following the story of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, you will recall that his arraignment had been scheduled to hold on Monday by the three-member panel led by Justice Danladi Umar.
Prominent personnel in Nigeria since the announcement including the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, have reacted to such decision by the government.
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday, said it is part of a plot by the APC-led federal government to destabilize the Judiciary so as to rig the 2019 general elections.
“This is particularly following allegations that the APC seeks a new CJN that will aid its rigging schemes as well as execute the plot to use the court to detain and put opposition members and outspoken members of Civil Society Organisations out of circulation during the general elections,” the PDP said.
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and many lawyers in their personal capacities also condemned the decision to put the head of the Nigerian judiciary in the dock.
“As all authorities are bound by the Court of Appeal verdict, the case should be withdrawn by the Attorney-General of the Federation without any delay because it is likely to be a prosecutorial misadventure,” Femi Falana said on Saturday.
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), in a statement by its spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, on Saturday described the planned arraignment of Mr Onnoghen as a plot by the government to force him out of office to help President Muhammadu Buhari manipulate the election tribunal.
The Presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubaka in a statement also reacted on Saturday to the decision of the Federal Government and advised the Federal Government to be lawful on the issue as its coming at a very sensitive period.
“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 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 takes its full course”. Mr. Atiku said.
The All Progress Congress, APC, spoke for the first time on this issue on Sunday through its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, saying the PDP are only trying to spread unnecessary rumour and bringing up uncorrelated issues together.
The ruling party, APC, therefore dismissed the accusation of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that the trial of Justice Walter Onnogehn has anything to do with the coming election, rather to rid the country of corruption and the Buhari administration will not hesitate to prosecute any public officer if and when corruption indicators are sighted. He therefore reiterated that APC is committed to ensuring a free and fair election.
“The PDP’s baseless conspiracy theory on APC’s participation in the 2019 general elections should hereby be disregarded. We remain solidly committed to ensuring that the forthcoming elections go on record as one of the freest, most credible and peaceful elections in the country.” APC said