By Eseoghene Emuke
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has alleged that the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged failure to declare his assets is part of the political scheming towards the 2019 elections.
It alleged further that the political scheming to remove the nation’s number judge is for political convenience for the ruling APC cabal, saying that if the trail is not stopped, it could truncate the hard-fought judiciary and as well politicise the judicial system in the country.
In a statement issued by its President, Eric Omare, IYC condemned the planned trial which commences tomorrow (Monday).
IYC, however, warned the President Buhari’s led federal government not to play politics with the judiciary in the interest of peace ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
According to it, “As far as we are concerned, the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for failure to declare his assets is part of the political scheming towards the 2019 elections.
“We consider such political scheming to remove the sitting CJN for political convenience as dangerous and capable of truncating the nation’s hard fought democracy. We hold the opinion that it is wrong to play politics with the nation’s judiciary.”
The group reasoned that the entire circumstances leading to the preparation of charges and planned arraignment is highly suspicious owing to the fact that the petition which the federal government is acting on was only filed January 9, 2019.
“From the records, the petition was submitted on the 9th of January, 2019 and two days after the Code of Conduct Bureau had already completed its investigation, prepare and filed charges preparatory to formal arraignment. These hurried steps call to question the sincerity of purpose in the planned arraignment; whereas court orders to investigate the tenure of the national chairman of the ruling party for graft are not obeyed.
“Though the IYC concede that nobody is above the law and the CJN also do not enjoy immunity, however, the federal government must strictly act within the confines of the law in its anti corruption crusade. It is now established that the procedure for removing and disciplining judicial officers lie within the powers of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“So, why the hurried planned arraignment of Justice Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in the light of the established precedent. The entire circumstances of the planned arraignment of Justice Onnoghen raise a lot of question marks”, the statement added.
IYC called on President Buhari to stop the planned politically motivated humiliation of the judiciary with the arraignment of Justice Onnoghen and save the nation’s democracy.