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Onnoghen: Buhari acted within the confines of the law – Group

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A political group in Nigeria has backed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to suspend Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen and Justice Tanko Muhammad

The Initiative to Save Democracy said the President was acting on the order of the Code of Conduct Bureau, stressing that, the decision had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion.

In a statement issued on Saturday and signed by Sunday James Akinloye, President of ISD, President Buhari’s decision to suspend Justice Onnoghen paves way for impartial judgment.

“Justice Onnoghen is the head of the National Judicial Council and you cannot say you are fighting corruption when a man his allowed to be the supervisory judge in his own case.”

“We are talking about the rule of law and the President simply complied with the order of the CCT.”

“President Buhari made the right decision as nobody is above the law. He cannot say he is fighting corruption and the CJN appointed by him will be embroiled in non-asset declaration scandal”.

Akinloye urged Nigerians to always put ethnicity and religion away when tackling issues. Quoting President Buhari, he said, “In further compliance with the same Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, I hereby invite Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed JSC, being the next most Senior Justice in the Supreme Court, to come forward to take the Judicial Oath as Chief Justice of Nigeria in an Acting Capacity”.

“We must recall that it was CJN Onnoghen who wrote the minority judgement in favor of the President in his 2011 election petition. In fact, that the President had to act today is simply a question of duty and adherence to rule of law. He had nothing personal against the Chief Justice.”

“Putting sentiments in any issue will not help us develop. We must understand that people of integrity must be insisted upon at every point in time”.

Akinloye pointed that Nigerians should not forget that monies were traced to bank accounts belonging to Justice Onnoghen. “We must remember that security agencies have also traced other suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the CJN’s personal accounts, all undeclared or improperly declared as required by law.

“We must also remember that the Chief Justice of Nigeria in his response admitted in to the charges. He was quoted as saying that it he forgot to declare the account, an act which is totally unknown to our laws as defences in the circumstances of his case”.

Akinloye then posed some questions to those who are opposing the suspension. “Should the President have simply ignored the allegations against the CJN? Or should the nation just pretend that this did not happen? Did the CJN actually forget to declare his assets? These are questions that must be asked”.

“If the CJN is found not guilty in the court of law then he will be acquitted and allowed to return to his job but until then we must do what is right”.

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Akinloye added that the international community is watching what is happening, noting that, it will be a bad precedence had the President failed to act.

“The move by the President at this crucial time is very brave and courageous. No one is above the law. Can the CJN defend the 55 houses he owns? If yes, let him do so in court”.

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