By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
A Niger Delta Civil Society body, South South Reawakening Group’s (SSRG) has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify more efforts on corrupt justices in the Nigerian judiciary system.
The group’s position was contained in a statement signed by its Convener, Joseph Ambakederimo and made available yesterday to newsmen on Warri.
SSRG was reacting to alleged corruption allegations slammed on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and the series of developments that followed.
The group maintained that the penultimate Friday’s suspension of the CJN by President Buhari was to “protect and preserve the sanctity of the Judiciary, since the holders of that branch of government have failed either by commission or omission.”
It also stated that Justice Onnoghen would have “honourably” stepped aside to save his family and Nigeria the ongoing global “embarrassment”.
According to the statement, “ against opinions from various quarters, including some opposition political parties, while a non-partisan and independent judiciary is the “hallmark of democracy”, the embattled CJN’s attitude and others like him are reasons the country is seen among “the highest in the world’s corruption index”.
“Those who are goading on Justice Walter Onnoghen, are the true enemies of the Nigerian people. The opposition political parties who have put up themselves as a wedge on the corruption fight have no place in a decent society because they have lost the moral compass to solicit for votes of the Nigerian people who have been pauperised by the action of a few dishonest politicians.
“At this point without trying to be simplistic, the question Nigerians should be asking is, did the former CJN follow due process to amass the monies and properties he’s alleged to have acquired. If the answer is no, then, why should due process be followed to prosecute him and other offenders like him? We must devise new ways to fight this scourge call corruption in our country now that it appears the conventional method is not helping.
“Today, we are in a sorry state in Nigeria due largely to the unbridled corruption that has pervaded the entire strata of our society. Therefore, we are urging all Nigerians irrespective of creed, religion, profession and political affiliation to stand shoulder to shoulder with President Mohammadu Buhari and anyone who shares the aspirations of Nigeria becoming a decent and developed society to fight and expose those who have perpetually held us down.
“We must begin to call them out by their names and shame them. Nigerians don’t want to be accomplices to corrupt leaders therefore we must support any effort that is geared towards weeding out the bad ones in our society.
“Furthermore, we urge the President to beam the searchlight on other Justices of the bench and weed out anyone founding wanting”, the statement said.