Nigerian president Mohammad Buhari recently suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of the federation. His suspension came on the premise of incomplete asset declaration. President Buhari since he assumed office has taken his fight against corruption seriously. In his quest to recover looted funds by past administration.
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Suspension of Justice Onnoghen has generated lots of controversies on the ground if Mr. President has the constitutional right to suspend a serving Chief justice. According to Law experts, Mr. President lacks the constitutional right to fire/suspend a serving Chief justice. Quoting from the constitution, the president can only remove a sitting CJN. From office if he has the support of two-thirds majority members of the red chambers (senate).
Before Mr. President’s action, there was no such deliberation on the floor of the senate. President Buhari backed up his action saying he acted on an order of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
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Ever since the news of Justice Onnoghen’s suspension came, there have been mixed reactions by Nigerians as it was least expected. There have been series of protest for and against Mr. President’s action. First protest came from Lagos where a group of people were seen chanting against the ex-CJN suspension. In another development, protesters were seen in one of the Northern states supporting the president’s action.
Many Nigerians have been quoting out of constitution saying that there is no justification to keeping a man that has been found corrupt. The argument shouldn’t be if a corrupt man should be kept or not but the essence of obeying the rule of man.
Morally speaking, if Mr. President had written to the senate, they would have giving their consent concerning the suspension of the ex-CJN. No matter how you look at it, rule of law should be respected as it’s the foundation of any successful democracy.
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