January 29, 2019

Pro, anti-Onnoghen’s protests rock Abuja

Pro, anti-Onnoghen’s protests rock Abuja

Protesters in support of suspension of CJN Onnoghen in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

Group rallies support for Buhari
Faults concerns raised by US, Britain, EU

ABUJA—Lawyers, under the aegis of Lawyers In Defence of Democracy and some civil society groups opposed to last Friday’s suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari, took to the streets of Abuja, yesterday, to register their grievances.

This is even as another group of protesters, on the platform of Good Governance Ambassadors of Nigeria, GOGAN, yesterday, also stormed the streets of Abuja, throwing weight behind President  Buhari’s action, saying it was in order.


Before pouring into the streets, the pro-Onnoghen protesters marched to the national office of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and American Embassy, Abuja, to register their displeasure over the President’s action.

The development caused traffic gridlock in some major streets of the Central Business District area of the FCT, thus giving the police personnel deployed to monitor the situation an herculean task to contend with.

The co-converner of the coalition on the aegis of National Interest Defenders, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, while addressing the protesters, described the day as one that marked the beginning of civil action by Nigerians to reclaim the country from the grip of politicians who have treated the constitution with disdain.

He said:  “ Today marks the day the Nigerian people are willing to show the world and particularly those who dare us that our faith is unwavering, our resolve unflinching and our commitment to salvaging our country, unshakable.

“We have gathered here today from far and near because we believe that in troubled and uneasy times like this, the hope of the people lies in those who see something wrong and revolt against it actually and not just verbally.

‘’Hence to everyone here , I say to you, you are the hope and the conscience of Nigerians, the bearers of the consciousness of the citizenry who cannot be cowed and the heroes whose names history will forever remember for standing up successfully against a rampaging dictator. We shall not stop until we recover all that we have lost.

Group rallies support for Buhari

Meanwhile, members of the Good Governance Ambassadors of Nigeria, GOGAN, yesterday, threw their weights behind President Buhari’s suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, from the office, saying the President’s action was in order.

The group, which embarked on a peaceful rally from the Unity Fountains through the Ministry of Justice in Abuja, in support of the President, however, faulted the concerns raised by the international community, particularly the United States, Britain and European Union, EU, on the suspension of CJN.

The protesters displayed placards bearing inscription such as “In Japan, the CJN would have committed suicide”, “Justice is blind to position and status, it must prevail”, “Americans do not accept corrupt judges and we will not either”, “Those who wish to control our destiny from abroad will fail this time’’, “No nation in the world will successfully plant Nigerian looters in office to do their biddings”, “This is not Venezuela, “Support Justice Tanko to rid our deprived judiciary of all corrupt elements.”

Addressing a crowd of supporters,National Women Leader of GOGAN, Hajia Zainab Mohammed, pleaded with the international community to support the efforts of the current administration to adapt home-grown approach to fight corruption.

Hajia Mohammed warned those advocating Justice Onnoghen‘s reinstatement to steer clear because Nigerians were not sleeping.

She said: ‘’We can’t take this impunity; we are no longer sleeping giant anymore. We have a leader that we believe in, a leader that is birthing a new Nigeria, a leader that told us I will do this and he is doing it, a leader that did not remove the CJN overnight but told him to step aside, while  investigating the case; that is the leader that will have my support.


“That is why as Good Governance Ambassadors of Nigeria, I am here to tell the world to back off  and let’s do it the way we know how to do it. Due process is working in Nigeria, this is justice for the masses, this is justice for the less privileged and those whose future have been ruined by corrupt people.”


“We don’t want corrupt people in the affairs of this country again; we want people who can think about our future. We want people whose children are attending the same schools with us.

“We don’t want somebody who told us that if you are a lawyer, you are a learned person. There is no ignorance in law. You cannot come and tell us after having $1 million in your bank account that you forgot to declare it; It is a lie.”

Hajia Mohammed, who noted that heaven will not fall with the suspension of the CJN on account of corrupt practices, recalled:m  “You are all living witnesses to what happened about five years ago, when the then President Goodluck Jonathan suspended the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, form office.

“In his case, the former CBN governor raised genuine alert about missing $20 billion oil money that was not remitted to the apex bank. But we are now talking about suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, who was suspended based on issue bordering on corruption.”