Close Down Courts Until Buhari Madness Against Judiciary Is Reversed – Ozekhome

One of Nigeria’s senior lawyers, Mike Ozekhome, has called for a total shutdown of courts across the country to protest President Muhammadu Buhari’s “onslaught against the judiciary.”

Mr. Ozekhome also
urged Nigerians to defend the nation’s democracy, adding that a strong
judiciary is one of the fundamental platforms for any meaningful
constitutional government.

According to him, the Buhari
administration is setting the stage to scuttle the nation’s democracy by
using strong hand and brute force.

He argued that the government
has been consistently intolerant of dissenting voices and had invaded
the homes of judges, laid siege on the National Assembly and the
residences of Senate president and his deputy.

“It is clear that
this government, which protects its own members, however corrupt and
despicable, has blown into full maximum dictatorship, totalitarianism
and absolutism. Nigerians must say no to fascism,” Mr. Ozekhome stated.

“The
latest onslaught is against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice
Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, a man of great nobility, erudition and lucidity
of thought.

“It has come to light that the government has
hurriedly filed charges against Onnoghen, even with a motion (most
curiously and unusually), that he should recuse himself from his Chief
Justice-ship until the case filed against him is finally determined by
the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

“This is to force him out of
office. The phoney and ridiculous charges are that Onnoghen failed to
declare his assets and that he also maintains domiciliary accounts,
contrary to the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act,” Mr.
Ozekhome said.

He insisted that the charges are political, and
designed to intimidate the judiciary ahead of the 2019 presidential
election and force out Justice Onnoghen, who, as the CJN, will
constitute the Presidential Election Tribunal that will entertain
disputes arising from the election.

According to him, many facts
support the theory including that the petitioner, committed the Freudian
slip by anchoring the petition on “bearing in mind the imminence of the
2019 general elections and the overwhelming role of the judicial arm
both before and after…”

The second fact, he said is even after
the recommendation of Mr. Onnoghen as CJN by the NJC on October 13,
2016, it took Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to appoint him as CJN on
March 1, 2017.

He said the appointment followed outrage by a majority of Nigerians, and at a time the president was abroad on medical vacation.

The
third fact is Justice Onnoghen became the first Southerner to be made
CJN in 30 years, after the last Southerner, Justice Ayo Irikefe,
occupied that exalted office in 1987.