By Segun James
The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo has condemned the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, describing the action as shocking, sectional and provocative.
The President of Ohaneze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said the pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation received with shock and disappointment, the decision of the federal government to prosecute Onnoghen.
“Legal opinion abound that the action is premature and ill conceived following an extant Court of Appeal decision which interprets the procedure for prosecuting judicial officers. This procedure has not been followed. The fact that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has been ignored is not just illegal but suggests deliberate court shopping and a predetermined objective.
“Secondly, the fact that one of the issues being canvassed by the CCB before the CCT is for an order of the CCT for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to step aside from his exalted office pending the conclusion of the trial contrary to the procedure for his removal from office as provided by the Nigerian constitution exposes the aim of the prosecution.
“A perusal of some of the depositions in the charge sheet also shows a completely distorted conception of the regulations pertaining to the declaration of assets. Assets acquired after assumption of office are declared at the end of a public official’s tenure in order to present a comparison with assets declared on assumption of office.
“The federal government is heating up the polity. Not long ago we were entertained with all sorts of interpretations of the Vice President’s powers while the President is on leave. The Group Managing Director of NNPC was accused of violating laws pertaining to the award of contracts. Because he comes from a protected ethnic group and class, no investigation was conducted.
“Fulani herdsman killed 110 natives of Nimbo in Enugu State. Police investigations led to the arrest of some of the herdsman with their telephone pictures of the carnage but not one has been prosecuted .
“The same carnage took place in Benue State. Pictures of the murderers wearing the uniform of the choir members of a Catholic church where they murdered their priests and members of their congregation were all over the social media. No one was arrested or prosecuted.
“Their sponsors, Miyetti Allah, addressed a press conference recently extolling their ethnic agenda and making decisive and inciting statements. Not one of them was arrested.
“The insensitiveness of the federal government to respect for our constitution and it’s patronage of double standards in the enforcement of the law is sickening and abhorrent,” Nwodo added.