Nigeria: Babatope, Ubani, others slam Buhari over CJN’s removal
By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
London, Jan. 26, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A former minister of transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope says the the controversy trailing the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen and swearing in of another CJN, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko as his successor in an acting capacity has created a very bad image for the country in the international community
In a telephone interview with Alternativeafrica.com, Chief Babatope, himself a lawyer and former director of organisation in the defunct Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, said said his concern was not about whether the President’s action was legally right or not, but the impression the action had created about Nigeria in the eyes of the international community.
According to him, this time when elections are coming, the Judiciary is supposed to be courted as an ally for the smooth electoral exercise in the country, lamenting that the action has opened a floodgate of attacks.
In his comment, a former Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Lagos State Chapter, Barrister Monday Ubani said, “to me, what the President has done does not look very well,” reminding that, there was a process that put the CJN in office.”
According to him, it was the NJC that recommended him to the Senate for approval before he was sworn in, reasoning that his suspension was supposed to follow that process too.
In addition to that, Ubani reminded that there was an experte order obtained by defending lawyers challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to handle the matter that was yet to be decided, stressing that, the issue of jurisdiction in law is very fundamental.
An activist, legal practitioner and President General, United Middle Belt Indigenous Peoples Congress (MBIPC), Abuka Onalo Omababa said, “the suspension of Onnoghen was an abuse of power by the president ans a toal disregard for the rule of law and separation of power, a cardinal principle of democracy
According to him, the body responsible for the affairs of the Judges and Judicial officers are members of the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC), disclosing that, his case must have been referred to the NJC which will in turn refer its findings to the presidency for proper action.
Omababa explained that, if the NJC finds him guilty in its verdict and refer same to the presidency, it is then that the presidency can now take appropriate like suspension and other disciplinary actions.
The concerned lawyer lamented that the government had subjected the Judiciary to political manipulation, reminding that, “democracy is to be guided by democratic ethos which is the rule of law.”
While warning against abuses of the country’s institutions, Omababa expressed the fear that, “if care is not taken with the huge problem being heaped on the polity , the country would just one day erupt and explode.”