The United States (US) embassy in Nigeria has reacted to the federal government’s suspension and replacement of Justice Walter Onnoghen. The embassy said that it is concerned over the fact that the decision has triggered a lot of negative reactions and criticisms from most Nigerians.
In a statement on Saturday, January 26, the US embassy called on the presidency to swiftly resolve the issues that have stemmed from the decision with due process. The statement read: “The Embassy of the United States is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections. “We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result. PAY “We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria. Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.” Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Friday, January 25, decried the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, and referred to it as a coup against the judiciary. The NBA, through its president, Paul Usoro, in a statement made available to Legit.ng, equated the move by the federal government to the suspension of the nation’s constitution, adding that the appointment of the new acting CJN, Ibrahim Tanko cannot be upheld.