The South-south Media Professionals Forum (SSMPF), has condemned the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that the move undermines the judiciary.
The forum also described it not only as coup against democracy, but a deliberate attempt to short-change the South-south region in all ramifications.
SSMPF on a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity, Ambrose Inusa Sule, in Abuja, stated that the suspension was another act to further alienate the region in appointments and resources.
“We note that in suspending of Justice Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari acted outside the provision of the constitution, exercised the powers which he does not have and that this action amounted to gross misconduct and an affront to the South-South.
“This action is capable of undermining the nation’s judiciary, subverting the constitution and creating uncertainty in the land. The constitution provides a clear process for the removal of the CJN and specify the roles the three arms of government, beginning from the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Assembly and lastly, the Presidency, plays in such removal process,” the forum said.
The statement further stated, “President Buhari has initiated a process, the consequence of which nobody can predict. He has precipitated a constitutional crisis.
“We call the President to immediately reverse this decision and allow due process of law to take its natural course in determining the guilt or otherwise as well as the suitability of Justice Onnoghen to continue as the head of the nation’s judiciary.”
The forum recalled that, “Not long ago Matthew Seiyefa, who is also from the South-south, was removed as the acting Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS) by President Buhari. No sooner was he removed than he was Yusu Bichi a northerner, who was on retirement.
“President Buhari’s recent action has further shown that he does not believe in a united Nigeria in which state duties are conducted with fairness and equity.”