Godwin Tsa, and Ndubuisi Orji Abuja
Amidst heavy protest in Abuja for and against the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko yesterday presided over a five member panel of Supreme Court Justices who sat and heard some pending appeals before the Court.
Meanwhile, staff in the office of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen were yesterday allegedly prevented from accessing their offices by security personnel.
Although the office not sealed, when our correspondent visited, police personnel led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Umar Abubakar were positioned at the main entrance to the office.
He denied that the place was sealed adding that the police were there on normal duty. However, the Media aide to Justice Onnoghen, Mr. Awassam Bassey told our correspondent that staff working in the office of the suspended CJN were prevented from accessing their offices.
“They denied them access into the offices and those who were there earlier were asked by the police to leave or risk been arrested. Although nobody turned me down when I went there but some of our staff were turned down. If you are saying the office is not sealed then what is the different?” Bassey reacted. However, , the acting CJN, Justice Tanko presided over some pending appeals together with other Justices of the court.
Those on the five- member panel of the Supreme Court Justices were Justice Mary Odili, Justice Adamu Galenje, Justice Kekere Ekun: Justice Hamiru Sanusi and Justice Abah Aji. Meanwhile, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), yesterday adjourned further proceedings on the non assets declaration charge the Federal Government filed against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, indefinitely.
The tribunal said its decision to suspend Justice Onnoghen’s trial was based on the order of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar said “Inview of the Court of Appeal order for stay of proceedings and out of respect for the Court of Appeal, the tribunal hereby adjourn this matter sine-die (indefinitely) pending the determination of the Appeal before the Court of Appeal.”
Meanwhile, members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Civil Society Organisation of Nigeria and opposition parties protested in Abuja over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.
The protest took off from the NBA secretariat in Abuja with none of the leaders of the body is available to comment on the protest.
Also, Pro-Buhari’s protesters held a counter-protest in Abuja arriving the venue in three trucks, where the members of the Nigerian Bar Association are holding their protest, thereby disrupting the rally.
TIn another development, Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has said that the country’s democracy is going through difficult times under the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government. Atiku , who is also the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 16 presidential election, stated this at a state of the nation press conference, in Abuja, yesterday.
He said how Nigerians react to the challenges currently plaguing the country , in days ahead, will determine the fate of democracy in the country.
The former Vice President stated that last week’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria ( CJN) , Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari, in flagrant violation of the 1999 Constitution ( as amended) is a frontal assault on the country’s democracy .