Suspension of CJN Threat to Democracy, Elections, Says Group

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 N’Delta coalition warns against unconstitutional actions

Jonathan Eze and Mary Nnah

The executive and board of the Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna) has described the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter S.C Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari as an ill-conceived and provocative attempt to usurp the constitution in order “to give way for dictatorial hormones intoxicating his DNA.”

This is coming as pan-Niger Delta coalition, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), has warned President Buhari against actions that are brazenly unconstitutional and insensitive in order not to set Nigeria on fire, or even trigger another civil war in the country, asserting that Nigeria must outlive Buhari.

In a statement issued in Toronto, Canada, by the group President, Chief Ugochukwu Okoro, through the Public Relations Officer, Ahaoma Kanu, and made available to THISDAY, the socio-cultural and pressure group said President Buhari has brazenly unveiled his plans to rig the 2019 elections by suspending the constitution in order to pave way for his handlers to ‘tele-guide’ and corrupt the election tribunals having seen the evidence that Nigerians have rejected his incompetent government.

According to the group, “We stand with Nigerians and lovers of democracy across the globe in condemning the selfish, unconscionable, undemocratic and unconstitutional action of President Buhari in suspending the CJN of the Federal Republic without recourse to constitutional procedures requiring such action. The action of the president is dangerous to our democracy and should be fought against through all constitutional means.”

The statement noted further that the Nigeria Constitution Section 292 (1) and paragraph 20 and 21 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution stipulates that the CJN enjoys security of tenure and is not removable except within the strict procedure and for the specific reasons enshrined therein, adding: “The CJN can only be removed from office by the president acting on an address supported by two thirds majority of the Senate for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment.”

The group declared further that it was not surprising that President Buhari, in all his attempts to overthrow democracy which have all been met with strong opposition, has unleashed a mutiny on the judiciary in a manner which illuminates his preference for overtaking power.

The group said further that President Buhari’s action only exposes the desperate measures he and his handlers are now employing having gone across the country and seen how unpopular his government is hence his resort to unconstitutional means to remove the CJN, adding: “Also sad and diminishing is the reasons the president premised his actions on.

“This is a president that has constantly disobeyed court orders; shielded indicted criminals and turned a blind eye to hard evidences exposing his loyalists in corrupt practices. Listening to President Buhari give such fragile statements as his basis for taking on an unconstitutional path to usurp democracy does him no good but adds further assault to his already tattered reputation in respecting the rule of law.”

Okoro, therefore, called on President Buhari to, with immediate effect, reinstate Justice Onnoghen as the constitutionally appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria failure of which “we urge both chambers of the National Assembly to confront this ugly and detestable development with the full wrath of its authority, invoking impeachment proceedings if need be.”

Meanwhile, the UNDEDSS has warned President Buhari against actions that are brazenly unconstitutional and insensitive in order to avoid setting Nigeria on fire, or even trigger off another civil war in the country, asserting that Nigeria must outlive Buhari.

In a statement made available to journalists yesterday, UNDEDSS described recent events in the political space of as sinister.

The UNDEDSS Secretary-General, Tony Uranta, called on all Nigerians to resist any “sinister attempt to rob them of the freedoms and rights which many died for in the process of wresting democracy out of the evil jaws of military dictatorship.”

UNDEDSS therefore called on President Buhari and his advisers to urgently retrace their steps before they are doomed to go down in history as the ones that finally made Nigeria a failed state.

Citing what the Niger Delta leaders Buhari’s sins, including: “the impunity of trying to effect the removal of the country’s Chief Justice without adherence to the rule of law; the support of the president for appointment of his cousin to man the overall collation centre for the upcoming presidential elections in which he is a candidate; and the scandalous selection of all but one of Nigeria’s security chiefs from the Northwest amongst a myriad of anomalies.”

UNDEDSS called on all Nigerians to “immediately commence peaceful civil disobedience actions nationwide to defend Nigeria’s democracy,” even whilst admonishing all citizens to act within the boundaries of the rule of law.”

The UNDEDSS scribe declared that “while the Niger Delta believes that there must be no sacred cows, the region will not allow the country’s leaders to circumvent the rule of law with impunity or enthrone the corruption of nepotism.”