The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) on Friday said it has uncovered a plot by the Federal Government to arrest the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Tuesday.
The spokesperson of the Coalition which is made up some major opposition political parties in the country, Imo Ugochinyere, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja.
Ugochinyere said the arrest would be carried out shortly after a bench warrant would have been issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal against Onnoghen.
He added that arrangements had been concluded to immediately name Justice Tanko Muhammed as acting CJN.
The trial of Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal was on Monday adjourned to Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019.
This, the CCT said, was to ensure proper service and appearance of Justice Walter Onnoghen with the courtroom being noisy during the hearing of the case.
Onnoghen is being tried over his non-declaration of assets and has been asked by the Federal Government to step aside for proper investigation.
The development has drawn criticisms from several quarters, including opposition parties, lawyers and other Nigerians.
However, some others are backing the move to try the CJN, especially members of the ruling All Progressives Congress. One of such people is the Governor of Kaduna State Nasir el Rufai who on Thursday slammed his fellow governors from South-South for backing the CJN.
The Kaduna Governor made his views known on a Channels Television Programme, “Sunrise”, on Thursday.
He said: ”All the arguments being made that the allegations against the CJN should first go to the National Judicial Council (NJC) are wrong.
“I presented a paper at the Bisi Akande Colloquium on restructuring. I believe that we should look at our federation. Constitutional restructuring is one thing, restructuring our minds to be objective about what is right is another.
“I am extremely sad about this Chief Justice matter; if I am the Chief Justice, and write and say, ‘yes I have these bank accounts but I did not declare them’, I will not even allow the CCB to file charges, I will resign there and then to protect the institution.
“The admission that I did not declare my assets, that infraction alone, is enough for him to step down and protect the institution. All these court orders and lawyers are not helping the judiciary or the legal practice and are not helping Nigeria.”
Faulting the South-south governors for backing the CJN on ethnic basis without addressing the issue at hand, the Kaduna governor said: “What is worrying for me is that – one, all of a sudden we have no regard for institution; political parties are getting involved in issuing statements.
“My colleagues – governors that ought to know better are issuing statements based on where the Chief Justice came from. That is wrong. That is sad.
“Leaders should advance the course of institutions and unite us. You cannot say that he is my kin, so he should be let go. This is the attitude in Nigeria that has the capacity to destroy the country. If Babachir Lawal, as SGF, was being investigated, and all the facts about his conducts, and Northeast governors met and issued a statement that yes he has done that but he is from Northeast and should be left to go, where will Nigeria be?
“If we continue to apply these standards, what if Southwest governors met, and said, well ex-minister Kemi Adeosun made a mistake and presented a fake certificate, but she is from Southwest, so, she is immune from being asked to resign, what will Nigeria be like?
“My concern is that Nigeria elites should have a consensus about the sanctity of institutions. We should all protect our institutions, even when they seem to be against us.”
The governor said it was wrong to claim that the NJC ought to have looked into the allegations against the CJN before arraign him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).