Nigeria’s Buhari suspends chief judge, drawing opposition ire before election

'Dictatorship' row in Nigeria after top judge suspended

Nigeria′s president suspends top judge before election | News | DW | 26.01.2019

A Copy of the Motion Exparte obtained by PRNigeria exclusively was dated January 23, 2019 but was slated for hearing next Monday before the dramatic turn of event by the Federal Government against Justice Onnoghen. "It is our hope that President Buhari will listen to the voice of all lovers of democracy the world over and restore democracy in Nigeria immediately and without qualifications", the PDP said in a statement.

Worldwide pressure mounted on Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday after he suspended the country's top judge just weeks away from elections, prompting claims from opponents and civil society groups of an attempted judicial "coup".

According to a statement by Suleiman Haruna, who is her Director of Information, the alleged statement credited to her where she was said to have condemned the suspension of Justice Onnoghen was fake and untrue.

He was therefore forced to suspend Onnoghen because the judge didn't voluntarily step down and swear in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as Nigeria's most senior judge, Buhari said.

"You can't fight corruption without following due process", Falana said. Buhari's election in 2015 was a rare peaceful transfer of power.

The PDP said it raised the alarm to protect Nigeria's democracy as against being partisan.

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His main challenger, Atiku Abubakar, 72, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, suspended his campaign for 72 hours in protest at Onnoghen's removal.

"There are reports that the said order is suspicious and subject to investigation, being not argued or issued in the open court; following which a distressed Buhari Presidency now seeks to corrupt and undermine the Senate".

The judge had admitted a failure to comply with assets declaration requirements, he said, adding: "The suspension is morally justified and legally justified". The president said the CCT ordered him to suspend him until the trial is over.

"Indeed, it is not just the CJN that has been "suspended", it is the Nigerian Constitution that has been infracted and, in effect, suspended, under the guise of the suspension of the CJN".

Cheta Nwanze, an analyst with Lagos-based SBM Intelligence, told AFP the Onnoghen case was "a clear indication they (the APC) are panicking" about the results.

Buhari has been accused of surrounding himself with ministers, advisors and officials from the predominantly Muslim north, his home region.

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