More details as to why the federal government did not wait for the court to give its verdict on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen emerged in Abuja on Saturday, January 26.
According to Punch, Justice Onnoghen was expected to officially set up on Saturday a panel of judges (250 in number) that will preside over the conduct of the forthcoming general elections. Revealing that the said judges had arrived Abuja hoping that the panel would be inaugurated, a source said: “There are a total of 250 members who would sit on the election panels. The panels comprise National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals, Governorship Election Petition Tribunals, and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals. “His sudden removal was aimed at either stopping the event or removing some judges on the lists. That is what will happen.”
It was further gathered that newsmen were prevented from gaining access into the residence of Walter Onnoghen by security officials. 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. The statement partly read: “The Nigerian Bar Association unequivocally rejects and condemns this attempted coup against the Nigerian Judiciary and evident suspension of the Nigerian Constitution by the Executive arm of the Federal Government.”