Again, Presidency hits US, EU, others over Onnoghen

The Presidency said on Sunday that it is illogical and unwarranted to link the suspension of Mr Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari to the forthcoming elections. 

Responding to coordinated statements by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) that the suspension of the CJN would affect conduct of the elections, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said in a statement in Abuja that the trio misread the reality of election matters in the country. 

The statement reads: “The three make a curious direct linkage between the CJN suspension and the elections. However, in Nigerian law there is no such linkage. The CJN does not run the election. Nor is he the first arbiter of any electoral complaints. He and the Supreme Court will only get involved as the final arbiter at the end of the appellate process.

“For the authors to link the CJN to the elections in this way is illogical unless they assume that election complaints will be filed and will go all the way to the Supreme Court. Here perhaps they know something about the intentions of certain political actors to which we are not privy.

“Yet, even with that, the US , UK and EU should want any such matters to be heard by a Supreme Court led by a CJN without an obvious and outstanding ethical and legal blemish on his ledger. To have such a person preside over any case, would call into question the impartiality of any decision rendered and undermine the rule of law.

“This cannot be what these three friends of Nigeria intended. Thus, they should do a bit more research on this matter and refrain from being too hastily attracted by the arguments of those who have partisan agenda at odds with the government’s positions on most matters and who thus hope to use this issue as a new arrow in their quiver of partisan contestations.”