EU: Timing of Onnoghen’s Suspension Raises Concerns about Electoral Justice

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By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

The European Union Election Observation Mission, Nigeria (EU COM) has expressed serious concern about the process and timing of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

In press statement on Saturday, the EU COM said that with 20 days to the presidential and National Assembly elections, political parties, candidates and voters must be able to have confidence in the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

‘’The decision to suspend the CJN has led to many Nigerians, including lawyers and civil society observer groups, to question whether due process was followed.

“The timing, just before the swearing in of justices for Election Tribunals and hearing of election-related cases, has also raised concerns about the opportunity for electoral justice,’’ EU stated.

The EU therefore called on all parties to follow the legal processes provided for in the nation’s constitution and respond calmly to any concern they may have.

‘’The EU COM will continue observing all aspects of the election, including the independence of the election administration, the neutrality of security agencies, and the extent to which the judiciary can and does fulfil its election-related responsibilities,’’ the Mission further stated.