Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Condemn Arraignment of CJN

Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen

Fault appointment of junior officer as IG

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Southern and Middle Belt leaders have condemned in strong terms, the reported government’s harassment and arraignment of Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

They have also expressed reservation at the appointment of a junior officer as Acting Inspector General of Police.

The leaders at the end of an emergency meeting held yesterday evening at the Asokoro, Abuja residence of elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, expressed concern and dismay that the pattern of appointment of a new Inspector General of Police resulting in the appointment of a relatively junior officer as Acting Inspector General of Police.

According to them, this “has further caused cleansing in the top hierarchy of the Police Force, especially with officers from the southern parts of the country”.

The meeting,which was attended by President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo; Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; leader of Middle Belt Forum, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman(rtd); and Air Commodore Ndogesit Nkanga (rtd), among others, also frowned at the reported harassment and arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoggen, by the federal government.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and read by the Publicity Secretary of Afenifere Renewal Group, Yinka Odumakin, the leaders described the current assault on the person and office of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as unprecedented, unacceptable and condemnable act which has already done severe damage to the judicial arm of government.

According to them, “it is clearly evident that the rule of law and due process have been totally ignored as Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) makes full provisions for the appointment, career progression and discipline of judicial officers which have been totally jettisoned in this case.

The leaders, therefore, implored the federal government to take immediate steps to bring this growing pattern of assault on the judiciary and other arms of government “to an immediate halt to prevent this country from further degenerating into chaos and anarchy and subjecting Nigeria to continued International ridicule and disrepute”.

On the forthcoming general election, the leaders demanded the immediate removal from office of a INEC National Commissioner, Mrs. Amina Zakari, adding that non-removal of Mrs. Zakari, whose tenure was renewed by President Buhari in 2015 casts doubts on the commitment of INEC and the federal government to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country.

The communique further stated that INEC’s rules must clearly distinguish and make provisions for accreditation and registration of voters on the one hand and actual conduct of voting on the other. “INEC must take immediate steps to rectify the current state of affairs whereby PVC collection in most of the states of Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt are encumbered with great difficulties while the federal government must cease from further acts that will impede or impugn on the credibility of the forth coming elections,” the leaders further said.