THE Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged a plot by the presidency to cause the arrest of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Tuesday.
It also alleged a plot by the presidency to frame three other justices of the Supreme Court.
The coalition alleged during a press conference on Friday in Abuja that the plot to arrest Justice Onnoghen was hatched at a meeting attended by three senior members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and serving state governors.
Addressing the press conference, the national spokesman of the coalition, Ikenga Ugo Chinyere, said the CUPP wanted the world to know that Nigeria’s democracy was facing a clear and present danger.
“The cabal of the presidency concluded a meeting last (Thursday) night where they set the stage to burn down the institution of democracy and constitutional governance for the purpose of achieving a narrow aim of annexing the judiciary.
“Just a few hours after our release of the secret letter directing the freezing of the account of the CJN illegally without a court order, these men, at the end of their meeting last night, directed the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, to disregard the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which directed the tribunal to maintain status quo and go ahead to issue a bench warrant on the next adjourned date being Tuesday, the 22nd January, 2019, in the event the CJN does not appear in court.
“The meeting of the presidency cabal also resolved and directed the new Ag. Inspector General of Police to effect the immediate arrest of the CJN on the same Tuesday as effort will be made to ensure he is served with the order same day. The issuance of the arrest warrant would be his litmus test for his speedy confirmation as the substantive Inspector General.
“They further resolved that another petition would now be forwarded to the National Judicial Council and that petition has already been drafted in the chambers of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. This petition will precede the other frivolous and trumped-up allegations which will be submitted against Justice Mary Peter-Odili, Justice Cletus Nweze and Justice Rhodes Vivour just to scare them away and tarnish their good names,” Chinyere said.
According to him, the president is aware as he was briefed by a participant at the end of the session.
The CUPP spokesman added: “The president has weaponised his failed fight against corruption. The chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal was once again reminded of his pending criminal charges and conscripted that as long as he issued the arrest warrant nobody will move against him.
“Nigerians, the said charges against the chairman of the tribunal have already been filed and are being handled by the spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo.
“The plan on Tuesday to get Danladi Umar to issue a bench warrant against the CJN, the plan on Tuesday to get the Ag. IGP to arrest the CJN and the plan, on Tuesday, to forcibly arraign the CJN are solely aimed at forcing the CJN out of office and pave the way for a well-known pro-Buhari justice, Justice Tanko Mohammed, who is the deputy chairman of the NJC, to take over and do all their bidding. Let it be known that unless and until the CJN is found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, he will not resign”
He vowed that the opposition would resist the move, saying: “They want to force him out at all costs and put an acting CJN whose bidding will include setting up appeal panels to resolve the Rivers and Zamfara APC crises in favour of the APC and the other states where they fear they will lose elections, including Akwa Ibom, Delta, Lagos, Benue, Imo, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Abia and Sokoto and also constitute a pro-Buhari post presidential election tribunal.”
The CUPP added: “The CJN may not speak out because of the demands of his office but we will not, as the opposition, the bearers of the conscience and consciousness of the Nigerian people, keep quiet and allow these felons to desecrate the Nigerian judiciary.
“The only way the CJN can leave office is by Section 292 of the constitution or by a proper conviction and not by stepping aside from the NJC.”