With the dust from the suspension of ex-Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen yet to settle, almost 1000 youth groups across the country have backed President Muhammadu Buhari’s action.
The embattled judicial chief is facing trial over non-declaration of assets.
In a statement released by Comrade Aaron Tobias Turner, Secretary of the Communique Drafting Committee, on Monday, January 28, 2019, said Mr Buhari has no fault in the decision taken.
According to the group, Mr Onnoghen would have done the needful by stepping aside hence avoided such dramatic and shameful exit.
“Questions about the integrity of Justice Walter Onnoghen are not new. What is new is that there is finally an administration that is bold enough to take steps that will save the judiciary from the transactional culture that had turned the courts in Nigeria into shams where justice is bought and sold. The hesitation in naming him as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) was informed by the knowledge of his pro-corruption tendencies.
“Upon being found out, if he were a patriot and one that is conscious of his oath of office, Justice Onnoghen should have recused himself from judicial duties for the length of time it would have taken to defend himself before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) after which he could return to his post should he be able to prove himself as innocent. He would have gone down in history as a great Nigerian had he threaded this path instead of turning himself into the lead character in the unfolding drama of absurdity.
“Justice Onnoghen, in a previous ruling, had himself affirmed the independence of the CCT being a creation of the Constitution and one that cannot be challenged by other courts. It is only proper that President Muhammadu Buhari follows the order of the CCT that directed him to suspend Justice Onnoghen to answer charges of false assets declaration against him.
“The offence of failure to properly declare his assets including the secret bank accounts and operating foreign accounts in contravention of the law are now being overshadowed by the unnecessary drama that have been whipped up by his supporters. The duplicity of using the elections as blackmail has not obliterated the fact that Justice Onnoghen violated the law and this in spite of his untenable defence of mistake and forgetfulness.
“The composition of those speaking in defence of Onnoghen is suspect. Those canvassing for his reinstatement are clearly people that stand to benefit from his continued stay in office. They include leading opposition figures, the same people that have been accused of bribing him with the money found in his undeclared bank accounts. His support base include militants and separatist terrorists with members standing trial. Like the opposition politicians, their members could be handed death sentence, they have cases that would be appealed up to the Supreme Court. The nature of those that have spoken in favour of Justice Onnoghen therefore constitute a fresh crisis of interest for him.
“Justice Onnoghen supporters have recruited foreign interests and other countries to undermine Nigeria’s sovereignty in an attempt to block the country’s ability to fight corruption. The opposition and their civil society arm are now creating a precedence where Nigeria must get the approval of the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union and just any other western country before taking any action in furtherance of citizens’ interest.”