Judex Okoro, Calabar
The protest against the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has continued to rock Cross River as over 300 members of NBA took to the streets to register their grievances.
The NBA members from Calabar, Ikom and Ogoja, branches, who converged on the state judiciary headquarters on Mary Slessor Avenue, Calabar, defied the rain and matched to the governor’s office at Diamond Hill to present a six-point demand to the governor for onward transmission to the president.
Some of the placards carried inscriptions such as ‘No to Tyranny’, ‘Probe CCT Chairman,’ ‘probe Tanko’ and ‘We are not in a military era.’
Others read: ‘Let rule of law prevail’, ‘NBA Calabar says no to Executive Rascality’ ,’Nigeria not a Banana Republic’, ‘Justice Onnoghen we know’ and ‘Who is Tanko?’
Reading the communiqué before it was presented to the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, who received it on behalf of the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade, the Vice Chairman of NBA, Calabar branch, Julius Idiege, said: “Cross River is the home state of Justice Onnoghen. We have noted the efforts NBA has made and the reactions all over the country. I assure you that as soon as the governor comes back I will hand over the communiqué to him,” Esu said.
The communiqué issued by the lawyers read in part: “We condemn in the strongest terms, and wholly reject the unconstitutional suspension of Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari, vide a black market ex- parte order issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“We are horrified that the Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed submitted himself to be sworn in as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, thereby subscribing to this abuse of the constitution and we find the actions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal perfidious and fraudulent.”
The lawyers warned that “unless this abuse of the constitution is redressed immediately, the rule of law will be in jeopardy and this will drive the country towards anarchy” adding that “the constitution of Nigeria must remain supreme and sacrosanct.”
They called on the president to immediately retrace his steps and reinstate Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen to preserve the constitution which he swore to uphold.
Checks revealed that there was total compliance with NBA national directive that lawyers should boycott courts for two days as all courts in Calabar were shut down.