Chief Judge of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has faulted the Federal Government’s move to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Ortom, who said this in a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, on Sunday, said the planned trial of the nation’s judicial officer is an attack on the judiciary.

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The governor criticised the leaked charges to the press over the weekend as suspicious which lacked regards for due process.

Ortom said, “It is now clear that after unsuccessful attempts to intimidate the National Assembly, the same undemocratic forces have turned their attacks on the Judiciary.

“We urge all Nigerians to resist this unwarranted assault on the country’s Judiciary and save our democracy.
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“This is a clarion call on men and women of goodwill to condemn the move aimed at suppressing the judicial arm of government.

“Due process and the rule of law must be seen to be in operation in the country”.

Ortom noted that if Justice Onnoghen was guilty of the charges filed against him, it is the duty of the courts to determine not the Federal Government or its agents.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to respect the principle of separation of powers and pave way for the rule of law, so as not to throw the country into constitutional crisis.

He said, “The Federal Government has apparently chosen to ignore the provisions of extant laws and judicial process which hold that either the National Judicial Council or the National Assembly must play a role in the removal of the CJN.

“The President is expected to act on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.

“The decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC administration to flout this well-established procedure further reveals their agenda to weaken Nigeria’s democratic institutions ahead of this year’s general election”.