Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called for caution in the prosecution of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen for alleged failure to declare assets.
Dogara in a statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan on Sunday in Abuja, said that due process should be followed in handling the matter.
According to him, while the House awaits further briefing from relevant agencies, it is important that due process was followed because Nigeria is a country governed by laws and not dictates of men.
He said the House was not less zealous in the fight against corruption, but said to commence a matter of that grave magnitude with a media trial was pregnant with innuendos least needed by the polity at this sensitive time.
“Nigeria is a country governed by laws with clearly spelt out procedures and processes for their activation and not the dictates of men.
“It is important that people in authority should exercise power with decorum and not plunge the nation to needless crises as Nigeria is not a banana republic.
“This is a matter that affects another arm of government and its head which should be treated with caution so as not to send the wrong signal that there is a political undertone or other ulterior motives to the issue.
“As we raised our voice when the National Assembly was invaded by security men last year, it is incumbent on us as the legislature to voice our concerns because we operate under a system where three arms of government are co-equal branches and enjoy a measure of independence guaranteed by the Constitution.
“As we approach the general elections, it is incumbent on the prosecutorial authorities to exercise caution and treat matters of this nature with the utmost circumspection,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the CJN will appear before the Justice Danladi Yakubu led-Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on six charges, bordering on failure to declare his assets as required by law and for operating bank domiciliary foreign currency accounts.
The nation’s head of judiciary was also accused of refusal to declare his assets in breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
He was accused of maintaining domiciliary foreign currencies account which comprised dollars, pound sterling and euro accounts which were alleged to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.