OrderPaperToday – The South south Governors Forum has asked the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to ignore the summon from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) expected to try him for alleged corruption charges.
They also asked that he rejects the “provocative call for his resignation from some quarters.”
These were the resolutions from an emergency meeting held in Abuja on Sunday over an allegation that Onnoghen was indicted of infraction on the Code of Conduct laws of the country.
Governors of Bayelsa, Cross River State, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta States were in attendance at the meeting, leaving their counterpart from Edo State conspicuously absent.
A statement signed by the Governors, resolved that the action against Onnoghen constitutes a setback to the gains of the nation’s democratic experience of 20 years.
It reads: “We note that under Section 158(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Judicial Council, has ample powers to deal exhaustively with matters pertaining to allegations of misconduct and discipline of Judicial officers. Specifically, the NJC has the powers and clear procedures for investigating allegations, and recommending appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures against judicial officials as a matter of first instance before any further steps.
“The judicial pronouncements in the cases of FGN Vs Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court (January 9, 2018) and Justice Ngajinwa Vs FGN 2017 at the CCT have given validation to the express provisions of the constitution on this issue.
“We note that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state including the National Assembly and the judiciary.”
The forum asked President, Muhammadu Buhari to take constitutional responsibility and huge moral obligation to defend our democracy noting that the step “is directly aimed at humiliating the nation’s highest judicial officer and a prominent son of the region” which is “totally unacceptable as it is reflective of the South South story of endless marginalization and intimidation.”
The governors expressed fears on this development which might affect the INEC and security agencies, while affirming that President Buhari’s “continuous assault on critical institutions of state is a defining feature of a dictatorship.”
They also asked the President to condemn “this assault” on the CJN and the judiciary in a bid to save the country from this embarrassment and global contempt.