— Twenty-five lawyers have approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, asking the court to terminate further hearing on suit of the illegal suspension of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
— Others have also described Onnoghen’s sudden resignation as a result of continuous pressure on the former CJN.
The litigation is led by human rights activist, Mr Johnmary Jideobi, who seeked for the discontinuation of the suit after getting wind of an information that Justice Onnoghen decided to resign as a result of continuous pressure on him.
According to the litigants, the court pursuing the legal action to its logical conclusion would amount to “crying more than the bereaved,” notwithstanding the fact that the matter was earlier fixed to be heard on May 23.
Also, a University teacher and farmer in Edo State, Dr Isaiah Osifo, who described the recent resignation of the former CJN for the Nigeria Judiciary Council, NJC, as what was forced, and not deliberate.
In the words of Dr Osifo: “It is meaningless for the sycophants of President Buhari to celebrate or justify the resignation of Justice Onnoghen without concern for the dangerous consequences of a bad precedent in a country without respect for the rule of law.
“Can NJC and Nigerians tolerate situations where elected President can sack the head of the judicial arm of government without recourse to the rules and constitutional provision? Can NJC and Nigerians tolerate situations where elected state governor can sack the chief judge of a state without recourse to the laws and the constitution of Nigeria?
“The resignation/retirement of Justice Onnoghen should make less news compared to the dangers that are inherent in a society without the rule of law. Double standard and its application in any judicial system erode the confidence of the people in the judiciary and place the nation in the category of a dangerous and unpredictable country.
“If NJC cannot rescue the judiciary, who else can? Democratic and civilised nations always avoid subordinating law to satisfy any individual or a group,” he asserted.
In the same vein, during the weekend while speaking with newsmen, the Head of Chamber of Mba Ukweni and Associates, Mba Ukweni, San, adviced the Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad to desist from tribalism and ethnicity and stick strictly to the oath of the office as prescribed by the law and moral principle.
Mba Ukweni said: “The Acting CJN is the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court and until President appoints a new person, let him lead the Judiciary properly. The Justices have their oaths of office, let him follow the oath of office and work in accordance with the tenets of the constitution and shun tribalism and ethnicity.”
Speaking concerning the sudden resignation of former CJN, Ukweni said “If the situation has reached this level where there is no more trust, the best option for him was to resign. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Onnoghen’s resignation was appropriate.
“I don’t see it be inappropriate. I think it is appropriate because what is he doing now since this problem started? He has not been performing his duty as the CJN. So why is he still there? If he has become a major problem and he put in his resignation or voluntary retirement, so to say, to enable the system move on, I see it as a very honourable step taken by him.”