The African Bar Association (AFBA) has asked the Buhari led Federal Government of Nigeria to review its actions as it relates to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The Association made this statement in a press release dated the 28th day of January, 2019, and signed by its President, Hannibal Uwaifo Esq.
In the statement made available to TheNigerialawyer (TNL), the President said that it was informed in the Nigerian form of the Association that the suspension of the CJN was in violation of laid down constitutional procedures.
”AFBA has received with deep concern and regret the alleged Suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and President of the Supreme Court.
”According to reports reaching us from the Nigerian Forum of the Association, the Honourable Chief Justice was suspended under unclear circumstances and in violation of the rule of Law and due process enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and Perversion of the Nigerian Legal System which recognizes Separation of Powers,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that coming against the background of the upcoming General Elections in which the judiciary is expected to play a critical role, various human rights violations, disobedience of legitimate Court judgments and illegal actions by the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies for which the African Bar Association RULE OF LAW ACTION COMMITTEE have variously cited Nigeria without satisfactory response, the suspension of the Chief Justice citing an illegitimate order from an inferior tribunal is a call to anarchy which Nigeria cannot afford.
He further added that while the Association will continue to support the Nigerian Government in its fight against Corruption particularly in public office, but the rule of Law must be the Cornerstone and all safeguards against arbitrary powers must be activated in dealing with all cases, and justice must be manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. He also noted that though no one is above the law, the proper thing must be done. He, therefore, added that it will continue to monitor the situation and discuss extensively on it.
”While the African Bar Association will continue to support the Nigerian Government in its fight against Corruption particularly in public office, the rule of Law must be the Cornerstone and all safeguards against arbitrary powers must be activated in dealing with all cases and justice must be manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
”The African Bar Association concedes that the Chief Justice is not above the Law and should be made to account for his illegitimate indiscretions where proven, but so is the Federal Government of Nigeria. The African Bar Association therefore calls for an immediate review of all actions leading to the suspension of the Chief Justice and follow the due process of Law.
”The African Bar Association will continue to monitor the events and will have an extensive discussion on this and similar issues at its forthcoming Executive Council Meeting in Benin-City, Nigeria in February,” he said.
Mr. Uwaifo further cautioned against Lawyers obtaining conflicting orders and judgments from Nigerian Courts, stressing that this will only serve to further deepen the crises and obscure the real issues in this unfortunate Executive high handedness.