The opposition political parties has claimed that they had uncovered a plan by the Federal Government to arrest troubled Justice Walter Onnoghen on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. The claimed that there are special forces commissioned for the job.
The first national spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Imo Ugochinyere, made the claim at a press conference in Abuja on Friday. He said the arrest would be carried out shortly after a bench warrant would have been issued by the CCT against Onnoghen, reported The Punch
He added that arrangements had been concluded to immediately name Justice Justice Ibrahim Muhammad as acting CJN.
He said Nigeria’s democracy was currently in danger.
“Members of the cabal in the Presidency have just concluded a meeting last night (Thursday) where they have now set the stage to burn down the institution of democracy and constitutional governance for the purpose of achieving a narrow aim of annexing the judiciary.
“Just a few hours after our release of the secret letter directing the freezing of the account of the CJN illegally without a court order, these men have at the end of their meeting last (Thursday) night directed the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, to disregard the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja which had directed the tribunal to maintain status quo.
“They have asked him to go ahead to issue a bench warrant on the next adjourned date being Tuesday, January 22 in the event the CJN does not appear in court. The meeting of the Presidency cabal also resolved and directed the new Acting Inspector-General of Police that the immediate arrest of the CJN on the same Tuesday as effort will be made to ensure he is served with the order same day, following the issuance of the arrest warrant would be his litmus test for his speedy confirmation as the substantive Inspector-General,” he said.
Ugochinyere alleged that the meeting also resolved that a fresh petition against Onnoghen would immediately be forwarded to the National Judicial Council.
He said the strategy was to force the CJN out of office and pave the way for Justice Ibrahim Muhammad who is the deputy chairman of the NJC to take over and do all their bidding.
“Let it be known that unless and until the CJN is found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, he will not resign!” he said.
He claimed that some other Justices of the Supreme Court were also being targeted for persecution.
“They further resolved that another petition would now be forwarded to the National Judicial Council and that petition had already been drafted in the chambers of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“This petition will precede the other frivolous and trumped-up allegations which will be submitted against Justice Mary Peter-Odili, Justice Cletus Nweze and Justice Rhodes Vivour just to scare them away and tarnish their good names,” Ugochinyere added.
He claimed that a minister, a state governor from the northern part of the country, another top government official and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, drafted the petition.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the development because it was resolved at the meeting that the minister and the state governor should brief him.
“They want to force him out at all cost and put an acting CJN whose bidding will include setting up appeal panels to resolve the Rivers and Zamfara APC crisis in favour of the APC and the other states where they fear they will lose elections.
“The states include Akwa Ibom, Delta, Lagos, Benue, Imo, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Abia and Sokoto and also constitute a pro-Buhari post-presidential election tribunal. The CJN may not speak out because of the demands of his office, but we will not as the opposition, the bearers of the conscience and consciousness of the Nigerian people keep quiet and allow these felons to desecrate the Nigerian judiciary,” he said
He added, “The only way the CJN can leave office is by Section 292 of the Constitution or by a proper conviction and not by stepping aside from the NJC. We are shouting it from the rooftops; let them put the CJN in handcuffs, let Danladi Umar in dancing to the tune of his APC blackmailers and issue arrest warrant, let the IG dance to the tune of the litmus test of arresting the CJN, let the APC-funded petition be brought to the NJC, Justice Onnoghen will not be forced out of office.”
Ugochinyere also alleged that there was also pressure on the members of the NJC and moves to conscript them to force the CJN out of office.
“Nigerians must rise now before this final bridge of the semblance of constitutional governance falls,” he added.
What do you think: should the CJN Onnoghen be arrested?