Human Rights attorney, Femi Falana (SAN), says both the Executive and the Judiciary arms of government in Nigeria have failed Nigerians in reaction to the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen on Friday and immediately appointed Tanko Mohammed as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Giving reasons for his decision in his speech which was obtained by 9javenue, the President said there was an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, asking him to wield the big stick.
President Buhari said the order demanded that the CJN be suspended depending on the determination of his ongoing trial at the tribunal.
Speaking on the matter on Sunday during Politics Today, a political talk show on Channels Television, Falana said it was wrong for President Buhari to have suspended Justice Onnoghen based on an ex parte order of the code of conduct tribunal.
Falana said by so doing the President did not follow due process, stressing that the government must learn to respect due process.
“You can’t fight corruption without following due process,” the Human Rights activist said on Channels Television.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria described Onnoghen’s suspension as the most trying period for the Judiciary of Nigeria.
Falana argued that “The power to suspend a sitting Judge in Nigeria, including the Chief Justice, has to be on the recommendation of the NJC.”
The attorney noted that the procedure for dealing with a criminal case is as important as the trial itself, adding that “A government can never be in a hurry or allowed to engage in jungle justice for self-help”.
Speaking further, Falana stressed that the Court of Appeal cannot make an order restraining the CCT from performing what belongs to it exclusively.
Falana noted that the way in which the executive has gone about Onnoghen’s suspension is wrong, but also argued that the defence put up by the advocates of the Chief Justice do not meet the standard requirements of the law.
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