The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has rejected the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding for the immediate reversion of the decision.
The forum stated that the action of Mr. President in suspending the CJN, relying on a purported court order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) was “so sad, unfortunate, a show of brigandage and sheer demonstration of institutionalization of illegality.”
PANDEF in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Dr Alfred Mulade and made available to BusinessDay in Warri on Sunday, noted that the action of the Federal Government was akin to suspending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and enthroning dictatorship, anarchy and principle of self-help.
The statement reads in part: “It is important to recall that PANDEF had raised concern that the hasty arraignment of Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, coming barely one month to the general elections, was politically motivated, and was a ploy to force the CJN out of office without recourse to due process of law, to make way for enthronement of their own person, in this case, the Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to their bidding.
“Clearly, the Judicial Arm which is the pillar of integrity upon which our democracy rests is under siege; Separation of Powers and Rule of Law is threatened.
“Indeed the independence of the Judiciary shall be subjugated and consumed if this brazen action is allowed to stand. The principles and tenets for Rule of Law, and Judiciary, being the hope of the common man is being jeopardized.”
The forum also called on Well-meaning Nigerians irrespective of political divide should rise against this monumental absurdity of the century until it is reversed.
“Let all Nigerians of goodwill stand united on this matter and challenge this despotic action of the President, which remains illegal and unconstitutional, and therefore null and void,” the statement reads.
“Let us restate that PANDEF and indeed the peoples of the Niger Delta region and the South-South shall not tolerate the lawlessness and continued persecution of our people by this Buhari-led Federal Government.
“We shall employ all legitimate means to demonstrate our insistence and demand on the reversal of the illegal removal of CJN Walter Onnoghen. This country belongs to all of us, and we are critical Stakeholders in the Nigerian State,” PANDEF stated further.
PANDEF also declared that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should call for total boycott of Courts until the alleged illegality is reversed.
“Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad should be sanctioned by the NJC for his willful participation in this ‘coup’ against the office of the CJN and the Nigerian constitution.
“The Courts should not sit until Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad is barred from parading himself as the CJN and Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Onnoghen promptly reinstated.
The National Assembly should pass a resolution condemning this violation of the Constitution and to ensure that it is reversed with immediate effect,” PANDEF declared further.
Francis Sadhere, Warri