Onnoghen: This is Coup Against the Nigerian Judiciary and Suspension of the Nigerian Constitution- NBA Rejects CJN suspension

NBA PRESIDENT PAUL USORO SAN

Below is  Press statement by The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA


25 January 2019
COUP AGAINST THE NIGERIAN JUDICIARY AND
SUSPENSION OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION

1. The news media has been awash this evening with the news of the purported
suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honorable Mr. Justice Walter S C
Onnoghen, GCON by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and the swearing in of
Hon Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. We
are told that this was pursuant to an Ex-Parte Order that was issued by the Code of
Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday, 23 January 2019.

2. 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. The action
of the Executive portends a slide into anarchy and complete deconstruction of the
Rule of Law and due process. It amounts to an absolute breach of the Constitution
and the usurpation of the powers of the Senate and the Nigerian Judicial Council.

3. It is unfortunate that the Executive Branch of Government purports to
suspend the CJN on the basis of an alleged ex-parte order of the Code of Conduct
Tribunal – the same Tribunal that, to the knowledge of the Executive, had, only the
previous day, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 adjourned its proceedings to Monday, 28
January 2019 and has before it a Motion on Notice that is yet to be argued, seeking
the same reliefs as were contained in the purported ex-parte application, to wit, the
suspension of the CJN, amongst others.

4. We call on the Federal Government to avert the looming constitutional crisis
precipitated by its ill-advised action. In particular, the Nigerian Bar Association
demands the reversal of the purported suspension of Honorable Mr. Justice Walter
S C Onnoghen, GCON. We also call on the National Assembly to assert its
constitutional authority and powers and prevent this slide into chaos and erosion of
the Rule of Law.

Paul Usoro, SAN
President

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