The decision of the Court of Appeal to okay the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen, erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), by the Code of Conduct Tribunal has vindicated his suspension from office by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is contained in a press statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu issued on Thursday.
Recall that when the President, acting on the directive of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) announced the suspension of Onnoghen, some opposition parties wrongly alleged an illegal action by the President and viewed the CCT as lacking jurisdiction.
But the Court of Appeal had in a unanimous decision read by Justice Abdul Aboki dismissed the request brought by Onnoghen asking for a stay of proceedings in his asset declaration trial at the CCT ostensibly clearing any doubt about the competence of the CCT and the procedure that led to the suspension.
“The APC had in the wake of the suspension insisted that the rule of law be upheld and allowed to thrive while Justice Onnoghen submit himself to the law.
“The Appeal court ruling has further advertised the credentials of President Buhari as an unrepentant believer in the rule of law, due process and justice. Contrary to claims by the opposition and a section of the Nigerian Bar Association that the suspended CJN is a victim of persecution and that the law is not being followed in his arraignment.
“The Appeal Court has now confirmed that Onnoghen’s trial at the CCT is indeed within the confines of the law. His suspension is therefore not prejudice as being painted in some quarters since it was based on an order lawfully issued by the CCT.
“The suspended CJN had adjudicated on many cases where he ruled that only the CCT is exclusively empowered to entertain cases on asset declaration. It may be tempting for a weak and self-serving leader to ignore these legal precedents, but not President Buhari. He is ever truthful, fearless, fair and just and a stickler to rules.
“The APC is calling on the opposition to subject their criticisms to constitutional tests before polluting the public space with remarks, largely a product of political experience capable of bringing an incorruptible President to opprobrium. Issues of law cannot thrive where emotions and sentiment are the driving force.” The APC National Publicity Secretary stated.