Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate President, has advised the federal government to withdraw the corruption charges against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
Mr Onnoghen is scheduled for arraignment before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday, January 14, for allegedly omitting to declare his assets.
He is also accused of illegally operating five domiciliary accounts in various foreign currencies with Standard Chartered Bank since 2011.
Since the development was made public, Nigerians, including the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are reading political meanings to the six-count charge against the CJN, particularly because of the role the judiciary will be playing as the nation elect its leaders next month.
Advising the federal government to retrace its steps, Ekweremadu in a statement on Monday described the arraignment as dangerous for the nation’s democracy.
“I consider the charges against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as ill advised and dangerous, especially after similar attempts at the leadership of the National Assembly failed,” the top lawmaker belonging to the PDP said.
“This is extremely dangerous for our democracy and can only divide the nation further as well as mark us out as a country very low in upholding the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
“I advice the Attorney General of the Federation to immediately withdraw the charges and apologise to the judiciary. We certainly can’t travel this road,” he said.
SOUTH SOUTH GOVERNORS KICKS
State governors of the South-South region on Sunday kicked against the planned arraignment of the CJN.
The governors who advised Onnoghen to ignore the summon of the CCT said they were not opposed to a genuine fight against corruption, as such an action must always be anchored on the rule of law.
“We call on the CJN to ignore this so-called court summons from the CCT and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters,” Seriake Dickson, who read a communique of the emergency meeting of the governors said.
“While we are not opposed to a genuine fight against corruption, such an action must always be anchored on the rule of law,” they added.
Present at the meeting included the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson; Nyesom Wike, (Rivers State); Ben Ayade, (Cross River); and Udom Emmanuel, (Akwa Ibom). Delta and Edo states’ governors were absent at the meeting.