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UK Speaks On Suspension Of Onnoghen As CJN

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Danladi Umar, Onnoghen,Code of Conduct Tribunal ,
 

The removal of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) gives cause for concern, the British high commission has said.

Naija News had reported earlier that President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen on Friday and immediately appointed Tanko Mohammed as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Giving reasons for his decision in his speech which was obtained by Naija News, the President said there was an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, asking him to wield the big stick.

President Buhari said the order demanded that the CJN be suspended depending on the determination of his ongoing trial at the tribunal.

Apparently displeased with the development, the commission in a statement on Saturday, acknowledged the sovereignty of Nigeria but said the action could affect perceptions about the elections.

The commission said the international community is monitoring developments in the country closely, urging stakeholders to work towards achieving free and fair elections.

“The British High Commission expresses serious concern over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria. We have heard a wide range of credible and independent voices, including in the Nigerian legal profession and civil society, who have expressed concern over the constitutionality of the executive branch’s suspension of the chief officer of the judiciary,” the statement read.

“We respect Nigeria’s sovereign authority and its right to adjudicate on constitutional provisions but as friends of the Nigerian people, we are compelled to observe that the timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern. It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections. We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely.

“We encourage all actors to maintain calm and address the concerns raised by this development through due process, demonstrating their commitment to respecting the constitution and the impartial administration of the rule of law. We further urge them to take steps to ensure that elections take place in an environment conducive to a free, fair and peaceful process,” it added.


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