Itse Sagay: Justice Onnoghen’s suspension is constitutional

Nigeria opposition party pauses election campaign over suspension of judge

Nigeria opposition party pauses election campaign over suspension of judge

PDP's candidate, businessman Atiku Abubakar who served as vice president from 1999 to 2007, is the main challenger to Buhari in the upcoming poll.

It said the suspended CJN had built a hedge around himself to continue in office in spite of his written admission of hiding several domiciliary accounts with suspicious lodgements of funds believed to be proceeds of corruption.

But Buhari said he suspended Onnoghen after receiving an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal hearing the case, despite a Court of Appeal injunction ordering the lower court to suspend proceedings while an application to throw out the charges was heard.

Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR, was born on December 31, 1953.

His swearing-in followed Onnoghen's suspension by the president, who acted based on an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

On his part, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor Itse Sagay, stated that the right thing to do was for any self-respecting judge accused of breaching the Constitution to step down until such case was cleared.

The Senate will on Tuesday reconvene to deliberate on the controversial suspension of of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani told TVC News in a telephone interview that the lawmakers have been summoned to the red chambers barely two days after legislative business was adjourned till 16th February.

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"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", it said, calling the suspension a "brazen assault on the constitution". "This factionalisation of the judiciary will not stand", it added in a statement.

Onnoghen is due in court at the Code of Conduct Tribunal next week.

Abubakar questioned why due process was not allowed to run its course and called for the worldwide community to threaten "strong consequences" for anyone involved.

Buhari, who came to power in 2015 on a pledge to fight corruption, is seeking a second term.

"What the president has done is essentially a coup against the judiciary", said Cheta Nwanze, an analyst at SBM Intelligence in Lagos, the commercial capital. The chief justice could rule on any future dispute.

Saraki has accused the government of targeting him because he was not its first choice as leader of the upper house of parliament. Muhammed, like the president, is from Nigeria's largely Muslim north while Onnoghen is from the largely Christian south.

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