The federal government said it is deeply concerned over statements made by United States, United Kingdom and European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
The U.S, U.K and EU EOM had, in a separate statements last weekend, questioned the suspension of CJN Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement yesterday, said those statements demonstrate serious and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Nigeria.
“The various statements, especially of those referred to above, appear prejudicial and signify alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections in Nigeria,” said the statement signed by the ministry’s spokesperson, George Edokpa.
“These statements also portend tolerance for corrupt acts and downplay the anticorruption crusade of the Buhari Administration, knowing fully that the suspended CJN had not denied the charges against him and that probity requires of him to step aside while the case is under scrutiny,” he said.
He said President Buhari had consistently demonstrated respect for the rule of law, saying it was absurd to presume that the suspension of the CJN is geared towards rigging the forthcoming elections in favour of the ruling party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, be it known that on three occasions that Mr. President went to court, as a presidential candidate and lost his case, in 2013, 2011 and 2007, the presiding judges at the Supreme Court were all northerners and Muslims: Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, Idris Lebo Kutigi and Dahiru Mustapha respectively. In fact, in one instance, the presiding judge at the Appeal Court was from Katsina State and the President’s former classmate, yet, he lost the case. The minority judgements in his favour were given by two judges, both of them southerners and Christians: Justices George Adesola Oguntade and Sylvanus Nsofor.”
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