President Buhari urged to resign over “kangaroo” trial of chief justice of Nigeria just weeks to presidential election

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to immediately resign over the “kangaroo” trial of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The Buhari administration on Friday filed false assets declaration charges against Onnoghen at the code of conduct tribunal in Abuja.

The trial was adjourned on Monday to next Tuesday January 22.

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Why it matters: Just weeks to a presidential election, the Nigerian government suddenly found out that Chief Justice Onnoghen falsely declared his assets.

The charges have been described as politically motivated by the opposition, prominent lawyers and civil society organizations.

In a statement on Monday, Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, Comrade Timi Frank, called on the President to resign.

Frank said Buhari should step aside for feigning ignorance over the plot to forcefully remove Onnoghen through “a kangaroo false asset declaration trial”.

He argued that since Buhari has for long been unaware of his sacred duties and position as President he should relinquish his seat so that Nigerians can look for a president that “will be aware and conscious about critical national issues that often emanate from the presidency”.

He said it was “preposterous and unimaginable” for an anonymous aide of the President to have “sponsored a report in an online media” claiming the President was not “aware” of the planned trial of the CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

He also flayed the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, for denying reports that Buhari has demanded the resignation of Onnoghen.

He said: “Why should Nigerians continue to sustain and maintain a President who assumed office over three years ago but never is aware of actions emanating from his official table?

“I strongly believe that Nigerians have got the chance to correct this apparent amnesia in the  presidency by voting for a more capable and fully aware presidential candidate in February.

“We cannot continue to operate under this lifeless and unaware administration,” he stated. 

He said Buhari has continued to make Nigeria a laughing stock in the world by his persistent claim of lack of awareness even when his orders were being fragrantly disobeyed.

“Nigerians have not forgotten how the orders of Buhari that the military high command should relocate to Maiduguri on assumption of office were never obeyed.

“When the DSS invaded the residence of serving Justices and judges under the cover of night and broke down their doors, the Presidency claimed Buhari was not aware of the illegal and unthinkable action that was unbecoming of a security agency in a democracy.

“When the National Assembly was invaded by the DSS in an attempt to forcefully remove the presiding officers of the Senate, the presidency claimed Buhari never gave the orders. 

“When the President ordered the IGP to relocate to Benue State in efforts to stem the rising tide of bloodletting in that state by suspected herdsmen, the IGP refused and the President denied knowledge of the refusal.

“All these show that the President lacks integrity. A President that cannot take responsibility for simple government actions cannot be said to possess any iota of integrity. 

“A self-acclaimed anti-corruption czar who is not aware that his former SGF, Babacheer Lawal, accused of monumental corruption, is today not facing trial in any court cannot be said to be a man of integrity. 

“He cannot also claim not to be aware that Lawal has been appointed as a member of his re-election campaign committee.

“He cannot claim not to be aware that two of his serving appointees have been accused of certificate forgery and not performing the one year mandatory youth service programme respectively,” Frank said.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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