January 14, 2019

Prosecution of CJN another fascist move to ridicule judiciary – Mbaebi

Justice Walter Onnoghen

A legal luminary Israel Mbaebie has said that the prosecution of Justice Walter Onnoghen the Chief Justice of Nigeria at this time has raised red flags for the independence of the Nigerian Judiciary.

Justice Onnoghen

Mbaebie in a statement on Sunday said: ‘constitutionally, any judicial officer accused of any criminal offence or gross misconduct may only be prosecuted after the said Judicial officer had first been referred to the NJC which may (if an act of gross misconduct is established against such officer) then in turn recommend the arraignment of such erring officer.

‘It is therefore a cocktail of the most bizarre and absurd to observe the present purported arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria without first referring his case to the National Judicial Council, NJC.

‘This  is indeed another fascist move by the Buhari led administration to ridicule the judiciary which he had demonstrated in more ways than one prior to this time.

‘Nigerians have not forgotten in a hurry how a few years ago, Buhari had invaded the homes of our serving justices of our Superior Courts in gestapo like manner in the middle of the night and bundled His Lordships as common criminals. Buhari is at it again.

‘Note that this is coming in the heels of the Presidential elections which is widely believed would be rigged by the Buhari government.

‘The CJN is the only judicial officer constitutionally saddled with the powers to constitute a Panel of Supreme Court justices to preside over a possible Presidential Election Panel to hear any possible election petition on the election results.
‘The present move is aimed at weakening the judiciary; remove the substantive CJN; appoint Buhari’s puppet as CJN who would in turn appoint other Buhari puppets to preside over the Presidential Election Petition Panel.

‘Remember, Mr. President never supported/liked the emergence of the present CJN as he is not part of his cabal since he came from the South South.

‘I foresee an implosion of the system should Mr. President rig the coming election and proceeds to manipulate the judicial process. If there’s any time that Nigerians and the international community need to speak out and speak up, that time is now. Silence may not be golden any more.

‘Buhari has tried this manipulation and weakening of the judiciary before and failed, he will still surely fail this time around.’