•S-Court strikes out Senate’s suit on Onnoghen against Buhari
By Joseph Erunke & Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—THE Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, yesterday, said it had uncovered plot by the Federal government to force the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen to resign at gunpoint.
The resort to it,according to CUPP,came after the CJN allegedly turned down what it called “all mouth-watering offers.”
CUPP’s spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, in a press statement, insisted that the new move was “in their continued victimization of CJN Onnoghen.”
The statement read: “This time around, the Presidency has concluded the plot to force the CJN to resign at gun point after all mouth-watering offers were turned down by the courageous Justice Onnoghen.
“The Federal Government has resolved on the dual action that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, would weigh in and coerce his colleague Senior Advocates to withdraw from defending the CJN and to resort to the use of security agencies to intimidate the legal team of the CJN.
“Some of the Senior Advocates on the team of the CJN have been trailed, their offices and homes being circled and monitored, their telephones bugged and most of them have had reports from their bankers that their account statements have been obtained by the security agencies and certain instructions placed on some types of transactions.’’
The statement alleged further: “Also, subtle threats of arrest have been handed down in a puerile attempt to intimidate, harass, scare and force them to abandon the professional job they have undertaken as provided in law.
“Neighbours near the Wuye office of one of the Senior Advocates are already apprehensive due to the activities of the security agencies.
“The workers in the farm of the CJN located in Uke in Nasarawa State have been threatened to leave their place of work in the farm or pay with their lives by persons who disguised to be herdsmen.
“We have credible intelligence that the visitors to the farm were arranged by government all to ensure the farm is crumbled and every other source of income of the CJN is blocked.
“The legal team of the CJN has written to the appropriate security agencies complaining of the warning and threats by the so called herdsmen.
“The Presidency is clearly playing hide and seek with the security of the country. The federal government is encouraging, supporting and motivating the spread of fake news against the CJN. “The Presidency had alleged and spread the fake news that the CJN hid billions of Naira, Dollars, Pounds and Euros in his various accounts, yet has been unable to file any of such in court.
“The Presidency encouraged the spread of the fake news that the CJN owns 55 choice properties in several plum areas of Abuja, Lagos, Calabar and other cities in and out of Nigeria, yet till date has not disclosed the address of any of such houses because the houses only exist in their imagination.
“The attempt to use the spread of fake news is one that will fail and fall like a pack of cards. The Federal Government knows they do not have anything on the CJN, hence their resort to purchasing a contrived Exparte Order which the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal shamelessly said he would want to cement by allowing the prosecution to move the Motion on notice seeking the same prayer.
A seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court, led by Justice Rhodes Bode-Vivour, terminated further hearing on the suit after it was withdrawn by the Senate.
Meanwhile, when the suit came up yesterday, counsel to the Senate, Mr. Paul Erokoro, SAN, applied to withdraw it.
Erokoro told the apex court panel that his client had earlier filed a notice of discontinuance, though he did not adduce any reasons for the decision.
Responding, counsel to the Defendants, Mrs. Maimuna Lami Shiro, said President Buhari and the AGF were not opposed to the request to abort hearing on the suit.
Consequently, Justice Bode-Vivour struck out the matter.