#OccupyNigeria, the group which organised a massive anti-fuel subsidy protests under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).
On Friday, Buhari suspended Onnoghen, baking his action with an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). He swore in Ibrahim Muhammad in his place.
In an open letter, the group also asked the president to give attention to backlog of orders that his administration has not complied with.
The group said the travails of Onnoghen “could be described as the climax of these discernible series of inconsistencies in applications of the powers of the president, which you occupy.”
It wondered why Babachir Lawal, sacked secretary of the government of the federation (SGF), has not been prosecuted.
“It has become of grave concern to us, and to many citizens of our great country that we represent, the consistent pattern of treating provisions of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria with utter neglect in performing sometimes noble intentioned functions of your office,” the letter read.
“We have observed a number of seeming inconsistencies in the applications of the weight of the law as domiciled in your office, feeding the now common narrative that Nigerians have been divided into the twin classes of scapegoats and sacred cows, depending on whether such are in the good or bad books of the government when they commit crimes or found to have committed crimes.
“If the fight against corruption remains an ‘existential Policy which must be given adequate attention and commitment by all the three arms of government’, as per your address to the nation on the purported suspension of the CJN, why haven’t the likes of Babachir Lawal not been charged for corruption long after being so indicted?
“If the CJN’s moral authority were to be truly ‘so wounded’ as to lead to calls for his resignation, how come the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal hasn’t been held to the same standards to save the judicial ARM of further disrepute.
“While you raised suspicion over the ‘unholy alacrity between the time of filing, hearing and delivery of judgment’, in favour of the CJN, neutral observers cannot help noticing a similar ‘unholy alacrity’ between the date of submission of petition against the CJN and the filing unheard of in other cases against close associates of yours.
“We share your belief that ‘Nigeria is a constitutional democracy and no one must be, or be seen to be, above the law’, but the disregard for due processes while interfering with the activities of an independent arm of government gives the lie to this statement.”
It also asked the president to push for the amendment of necessary laws to ensure fair trial.
The letter was signed by Idris Usman, convener; Itari Tumer, secretary; and Jacob Okpanchi, spokesman.
Ex-heads of state and Presidents Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan and Goodluck Jonathan, were also sent copies.
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