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CJN’s suspension: Agbakoba tells Nigerians “resist attack on Constitution”

Dr. Olisa Agbakoba

Dr. Olisa
Agbakoba, a Rights Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria{SAN} has condemned
President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of the
Federation(CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, and has called on Nigerians to resist
what he describes as an attack on the nation’s constitution.
Full Text of
Agbakoba’s Press Release:
Muhammadu Buhari`s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter
Onnoghen is the most brazen assault on Nigeria`s constitutional history. The
President has obviously not listened to the advice of the Hon. Attorney General
of the Federation or the Attorney General of the Federation has misadvised him
or both.
Buhari claims that the suspension of the Chief Justice Onnoghen is pending the
determination of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. This is simply not true.
 The CCT itself adjourned proceedings in respect of Justice Onnoghen`s matter in
order to determine if it had jurisdiction to try Justice Onnoghen. 
President`s decision contravenes the Ruling of the CCT.

There are
atleast six (6) pending cases in superior courts of Nigeria and one in the
Court of Appeal. All these cases ruled that Justice Onnoghen should remain in
office pending when all cases against him are resolved. 

These Rulings bind the
President of Nigeria. In any case Section 292 of the 1999 Constitution of
Nigeria sets out the procedure for removing or suspending the Chief Justice of
Nigeria. The power to suspend or remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria vests in
the Senate side of the National Assembly.
For all these
reasons the purported suspension of Chief Justice Onnoghen is the gravest
insult to Nigerian constitution in history.It is difficult to understand how
President Buhari will expect my vote of confidence in the February polls if he
wantonly denigrates and desecrates our Constitution. 
I call on all
Nigerians to take the strongest possible view of the President`s conduct. I am
shocked that Mr. Justice Mohammed Tanko would have offered himself to be sworn
in as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. 
I call on the
Chief Justice of Nigeria to refuse to be pushed out of office. The NBA must
rise to resist this assault to our constitution.
Our judges
must rise; Civil Society Organizations must rise. This is potentially the
beginning of our descent into constitutional anarchy.

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