Nigeria Senate To Reconvene Tuesday, Debate Onnoghen Suspension

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 26th, 2019

Abuja, Nigeria: The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The National Assembly would also reportedly hold a leadership meeting on Sunday over the matter.

The Lawmakers had during Thursday’s plenary adjourned sitting until February 19, after the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

But the decision to reconvene next week followed the suspension of Justice Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

The President had thereafter appointed and sworn in Justice Tanko Mohammed as acting CJN.

He explained that decision to suspend Justice Onnoghen was at the request of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over allegations that he failed to declare his assets.

The suspension sparked mixed reactions from individuals and groups within and outside the country.

One of those who criticised the President was the Peoples Democratic People (PDP) which called on the National Assembly to take legislative actions against him.

Senate President Bukola Saraki also described Justice Onnoghen’s suspension as a “coup against democracy”, saying the President’s action was an over-reach of the powers in the Executive arm of government.

But the Presidency insisted that there was no political undertone in the suspension of the judge, stressing that it was purely about fighting corruption.

On his part, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor Itse Sagay, stated that the right thing to do was for any self-respecting judge accused of breaching the Constitution to step down until such case was cleared.

Meanwhile, the European Union has raised concern with Justice Onnoghen’s suspension and questioned the process and timing of the decision to suspend him.

Similarly, the United States government said the decision has weakened the determination of the government and political parties among others to ensure a process that would lead to credible elections in the country.

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