The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has said condemned the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief of Nigeria (CJN) and replacing him with Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed in an acting capacity.
A statement made available to newsmen late yesterday said the association, “Unequivocally rejects and condemns this attempted coup against the Nigerian Judiciary and evident suspension of the Nigerian Constitution by the Executive arm of the Federal Government”
The action of the Executive, according to the NBA boss, Paul Usoro (SAN) in the statement, portends a slide into anarchy and complete deconstruction of the Rule of Law and due process.
“It amounts to an absolute breach of the Constitution and the usurpation of the powers of the Senate and the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC).
The association said. It is unfortunate that the Executive Branch of Government purports to suspend the CJN on the basis of an alleged ex-parte order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which, to the knowledge of the Executive, had, only the previous day, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 adjourned its proceedings to Monday, 28th January 2019 and has before it a Motion on Notice that is yet to be argued, seeking the same reliefs as were contained in the purported ex-parte application, to wit, the suspension of the CJN, amongst others.
The NBA then called on the Federal Government to avert the looming constitutional crisis precipitated by its ill-advised action and demanded the reversal of the purported suspension of Justice Walter.
“We also call on the National Assembly to assert its constitutional authority and powers and prevent this slide into chaos and erosion of the Rule of Law”, the statement added.