The Head of Chamber, Mba Ukweni and Associates, Ntufam Mba Ekpezu Ukweni, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot rule Nigeria through intimidation.
Speaking to our reporter in Calabar, the SAN lamented the high handedness of Buhari led administration particularly on the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen by Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
“Nigerians are too exposed for one to come and say we will govern you by intimidation, the military tried it, they did not succeed, no person should think that in the democracy, he will now come out and use military tactics to intimidate Nigerians.
“The government is adopting the approach using this tactic to intimidate us, cow down everybody to submission and do whatever he wants but, if Nigerians have been resisting it, we will continue to resist it, we have a lay down rules, government cannot rule us through this way, we will not allow that, we will resist it,” he said.
The SAN noted that the whole attempt to charge CJN to court was tailored towards removing him as the Chief Justice of the Nigeria but he don’t think God will allow that to work because in the first place the President did not want him to be Chief Justice of Nigeria but God wanted him.
“During the period God wanted him, He (God) showed His over bearing influence on human affairs, the President was in coma and what God wanted took place. It behoove on everybody to be cautious when certain things are happening, if one decides to tempt God too much, God may show his power that I am God.
“The orchestrated trial of the CJN and attempt to arraigned him is totally unacceptable to all of us in the legal profession particularly those of us who are leaders of the profession. Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has taken its position and we are all in total agreement with the NBA leadership that what the government want to do is unacceptable to us and we will oppose it.
“Everybody is subject to the law, I have heard the comment of my much respected learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Prof Itse Sagay but such comments are unfortunate coming from a person of that standing.
“Nobody is saying that the office of the CJN has placed any person above the law, what we are insisting on is that the laid down procedure in law has to be followed, if the CJN has done anything wrong and required to be investigate and tried, they should take the required procedure.
“Happily for all of us, it’s not that the procedure is a hidden things, the court itself, the court of appeal, in the case of Justice Ganduje against Federal Government of Nigeria has clearly laid out the procedure, if you want to investigate or try a Judicial officer, first make the complaint to the National Judicial Council.
“It is not the Judges that made the law, the responsibility of the Judges, the court is to interpret the law, the law makers are the legislatures, so if the constitution and the statutory provision in our law has spelt out clearly the procedure to be followed in proceeding against a judicial officers, the executive arm of the government has to follow it.
“The executive arms of government is not a separate arms of government, it is part of the government and it is bound by law, this issue of rascal approach to fighting corruption is unacceptable to us and we will not accept it, things must be done properly in a country that is practicing democracy and observe the rule of law” he maintained.
Ukweni added, “The President should not tell us that he doesn’t obey rule of law, if he doesn’t want to observe the rule of law, he should vacate the office of the President, he was elected as President under the constitution and he has no reason not to observe the provision of the constitution and the rule of law.
“What government is attempting to do is unfortunate, media trial is not proper; it is just to damage the image and reduce the person totally to nothing.
The petition was written on January 7, 2019, it was sent to the Code of Conduct Bureau on the January 9, 2019 and they drafted the charges on the January 10, 2019 for the arraignment on Monday, January14, 2019. This supersonic approach and speed of trial is not acceptable.”
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