Newspolitics

Onnoghen’s sack: How UK, EU and US reacted

It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and sworn in Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as acting CJN.

President Muhammadu Buhari further gave reasons for suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen

The sacking stirred reactions from Nigerians, including PDP members and top Nigeria bodies. See how Saraki, Fayose, Shehu Sani and Davido reacted here

The British High Commission said…

“We respect Nigeria’s sovereign authority and its right to adjudicate on constitutional provisions but as friends of the Nigerian people, we are compelled to observe that the timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern,” the statement read.

“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections. We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely.

“We encourage all actors to maintain calm and address the concerns raised by this development through due process, demonstrating their commitment to respecting the constitution and the impartial administration of the rule of law.

“We further urge them to take steps to ensure that elections take place in an environment conducive to a free, fair and peaceful process.”

The EU said..

“The European Union was invited by the Independent National Electoral Commission to observe the 2019 general elections.

“The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) is very concerned about the process and timing of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen, on 25 January.

“With 20 days until the presidential and National Assembly elections, political parties, candidates and voters must be able to have confidence in the impartiality and independence of the judicial system.

“The decision to suspend the Chief Justice has led to many Nigerians, including lawyers and civil society observer groups, to question whether due process was followed. The timing, just before the swearing in of justices for Electoral Tribunals and the hearing of election-related cases, has also raised concerns about the opportunity for electoral justice.

“The EU EOM calls on all parties to follow the legal processes provided for in the Constitution and to respond calmly to any concerns they may have.

“The EU EOM will continue observing all aspects of the election, including the independence of the election administration, the neutrality of security agencies, and the extent to which the judiciary can and does fulfill its election-related responsibilities.”

US embassy said…

“The Embassy of the United States is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.

“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch.

“That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.

“We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria. Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.”
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