Ben Agande, Kaduna.
The Board of Trustees (BOT), of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has backed President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, saying allowing the CJN to be tried by the NJC would have amounted to allowing him “seat (sic) in judgment over his own case”.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Kaduna, the Forum said by his conduct, the CJN has demonstrated that his personal interest supersedes that of the nation.
The statement reads.
“The ACF notes that the allegation against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, are that he failed to comply with the expressed provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act, to wit, failure to declare his assets on assumption of office as Justice of the supreme Court and as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“That when he was made to declare his assets as demanded by law, he failed to declare all of them.
“Following the discovery of these infractions, the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, swiftly referred the matter to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. Which made an order for the temporary suspension of the CJN in the interest of natural justice? However, this action by the CCT has provoked intense controversy.
“And yet, from a reading of all the facts of the matter, ACF cannot defend the position taken by the Hon. Justice Onnoghen, especially his insistence that he should first be tried by the National Judicial Council, of which he is Chairman. To do so would have allowed him the seat in judgment over his own case.
“ACF deeply regrets the conduct of Justice Onnoghen, particularly his refusal to step aside and allow the due process o f the law to take its course. He has created the impression that his personal interests in this matter supercede that of the judiciary and the nation.
“On their part, law enforcement agencies must strive to always execute their tasks in neat and professional manner in order to avoid creating perceptions of partisanship.
“In the end, Nigeria cannot hope to develop and take its rightful place in the comity of nations unless and until we learn to respect our laws and enforce them fairly and consistently” the statement added.