FG defends Onnoghen’s suspension as protest rocks NBA office

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The Federal Government has defended its decision to suspend the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

President Muhammadu Buhari has removed Onnoghen and swore-in Tanko Mohammed as acting chief justice of Nigeria on Friday, January 25.

Addressing journalists on Monday, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the CJN was suspended due to his abuse of judicial processes.

He said the issue is about the country’s highest judicial officer, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, being accused of a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, and the legal and moral conundrum surrounding that.

Meanwhile, the presidency has again sent a message to the US, UK and EU assuring them that the suspension of the chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen is not related to the coming general elections.

In a statement issued by Garba Shehu on Sunday, January 27, the presidency said it appreciated the concern of three ‘friends’ of the country but assured that the election will be free and fair.

He said: “The statements by the three seem more driven by unfounded assumptions and to be honest, a certain condescension to this African democracy. This is unfortunate. But this gives us an opportunity to clarify some points in the hope that these three friends reach a deeper understanding of the situation.

“The statements by the US, UK and EU speak of their respect for constitutional practice and fair elections. However, the positions they stake tend to contravene rather than strengthen these laudable objectives.”

“CJN Onnoghen’s situation is one of his own making and, to a large degree, his own choosing”.

In other related development, members of the National Interest Defenders and Lawyers in Defense of Democracy have besieged the entrance of the National Secretariat of the Nigerian Bar Association over the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

The protesters carried placards of various inscriptions, including, “Tanko Mohammed, stop parading yourself as CJN;” “NBA must act now by ordering lawyers to down tool;” “Amaechi, El-Rufai, Akpabio, Malami, APC: brains behind Onnoghen’s trial;” “NJC must reconvene now and expel Justice Tanko Mohammed,” among others.