Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has reacted to the conviction of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, describing it as a major victory for the anti-corruption policy of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement explained that the outcome of the trial “demonstrates clearly that the law is no respecter of persons, titles, social or political connections.”
According to Shehu, “the essence of the rule of law is to hold everyone accountable equally before the law, regardless of their high or law status in the society.
“The war against corruption is all encompassing and is not designed to persecute anyone for political or other reasons.
“The rule of law would lose its meaning and validity if only the weak, the poor and powerless are punished for their violations of the law. Countries succeed because the rule of law is evenly upheld and enforced. The war against corruption would go nowhere if the high and mighty are spared because of their influence and connections. You can’t fight corruption by allowing impunity because the rule of law cannot function where impunity is tolerated.”
The Presidential Media Aide added that the conviction of Justice Onnoghen “should send a clear message that the dragnet against corruption will be spread widely to hold public officials accountable, whether they are politicians, Judges, civil servants or holding positions of public trust.”