Also Senate President Bukola Saraki has advised the Executive Arm to ensure that its plans to put on trial the nation’s chief judicial officer, Justice Walter Onnoghen, does not cause chaos in the judicial system and that the due process is not compromised.
Saraki in a statement, noted that he believes that if the Government has genuine reason to put the incumbent Chief Justice of Nigeria on trial, it should ensure that every step in the process is transparent and the normal process as provided by the law is followed to the letter.
He said a situation where the petition which triggered the trial was submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on Wednesday January 8 and by January 10 on Friday, the Chief Justice was presented with it for his reply only for the charges to be drafted that same day and filed in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), all this taking place within three days and commencement of trial fixed for Monday, January 14, already indicate unnecessary haste and short-circuiting of the process of fair hearing.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, yesterday, has called for due process
in the charges filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria( CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Dogara, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, said the House is awaiting further briefing from the relevant agencies on the issue.
However, the Speaker said it is imperative that due process is followed in the case against Onnoghen, because Nigeria is a country governed by laws and not dictates of men. He stated that while the House is equally zealous in the fight against corruption, to commence a case against the CJN with a media trial is not healthy for the polity at this material time.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) are plotting to kill democracy in Nigeria with the Plan to prosecute the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The party, however, warned both Buhari and his party to desist from any action that could truncate the nation’s democracy.
The National Vice Chairman (South West) of the party, Dr Eddy Olafeso in a statement issued by the zonal publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Ayo Fadaka said the PDP was disturbed by the actions of Buhari ahead of the next general elections.
Olafeso said “we take due cognizance of the plan to prosecute the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over an alleged curious infraction, we also note that the arrowhead of the petition is a one-time aide of President Mohammed Buhari.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused the Peoples DemocraticParty (PDP), of being sympathetic to corruption over the move to prosecute Justice Onnoghen, over an alleged infraction on the Code of Conduct laws.
In a statement signed by the APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, chided the opposition party to condemn the purported move, noting that PDP has again exposed the party as one with a natural inclination to rise up in defence of cases of alleged corruption.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has called for the withdrawal of the charges against Justice Onnoghen.
“The charge against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen ought not to have been instituted at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in view of the case of Nganjiwa Vs FRN (2017) LPELR 43391 wherein the Court of Appeal held that a judicial officer who has not been investigated by the National Judicial Council and sanctioned for misconduct cannot be arraigned in any criminal court in Nigeria.
In his reaction, a Constitutional lawyer and human activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said it was an onslaught, an attempt by the Federal government to intimidate the Judiciary.
“A strong judiciary is one of the irreducible fundamental platforms for any meaningful constitutional democracy.
“If you terrorise, intimidate, harass and humiliate the judiciary, using strong hand and brute force, it is a stage set for bidding democracy farewell.
“The president Buhari government has been very intolerant of any credible dissenting voice in the country. From the crude break in and invasion of judges houses in October 2018, by masked DSS operatives, to the horrific siege laid on the NASS and the residences of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Dr Ike Ekweremadu, it is clear that this government, which protects its own members, however corrupt and despicable, has blown into full maximum dictatorship, totalitarianism and absolutism. Nigerians must say no to fascism.”