Leaders from the Southern and Middle Belt of Nigeria have spurned the illegal suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Chief Walter Onnoghen, describing the president’s latest action as a clear suspension of the constitution and enthronement of full-blown dictatorship.
The attention of Southern and Middle Belt leaders said their attention has been drawn to a coup against Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari by the Suspension of CJN Walter Onnoghen this evening and swearing in a replacement.
This is a constitutional crisis foisted by desperation and morbid desire to foist rule of thumb.
The group disclosed this in a statement signed by Chief E K Clark (South South), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South West), Chief John Nwodo (South East) and Dr Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt) made available to newsmen on Friday night.
The statement reads in full:
We have checked through the constitution and the President has no power to unilaterally suspend the CJN. Section 292 of the amended 1999 Constitution is clear that the President can only remove the CJN with 2/3 of Senate resolution.
To us what has been done is resort to self-help after the Court of Appeal issued an order stopping the trial of the CJN by the CCT presided over by a man answering charges in court over corruption allegations but still in office.
The latest action is a clear suspension of the constitution and enthronement of full-blown dictatorship.
We reject the illegal suspension and demand its immediate reversal.
The suspension is null and void and of no effect whatever. An emergency meeting of the Forum holds shortly on this total aberration. We call on all Nigerians to wake up to the reality that our democracy is now under threat and use all constitutional means to defend it. We must not surrender to this authoritarian rule.
Chief E K Clark
Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Chief John Nwodo
Dr. Pogu Bitrus