Catholic Action Nigeria has called on the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed, to honourably bow out of office and allow Justice Walter Onnoghen to continue in office, to save the judiciary from further mockery.
The group, which promotes leadership values, economic growth and good governance among the Catholic laity, expressed shock at the dramatic suspension of Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement issued by the governor, Board of Trustees (BoT), Peter Agbontaen, and first vice chairman, Council of Patrons, Joseph Kyaagba, after an emergency meeting yesterday, the group called on the suspended CJN to challenge his suspension in the court.
Buhari, last Friday, sacked Onnoghen and swore in Mohammed, a development that has caused so much disquiet in the country.
The group also called on the National Assembly to rise up to the occasion, take drastic action and save the country’s democracy, especially by ensuring that all actions of the executive arm of government were strictly guided by the rule of law.
“The public outcry by the leadership of the National Assembly is hereby acknowledged.”
However, given the strategic position and powers vested in the assembly, this is not enough.”
Noting “the impending potential dangers that this conflict portends to the disruption of the 2019 general elections, our democracy, national unity, national security,” the group urges the president to respect the rule of law and reverse his actions immediately.
“The acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammed, should respect the National Judicial Council (NJC) and cease to act in such capacity, but work in tandem with the NJC to save the judiciary from this executive intimidation and lawlessness,” the group added.
In the same vein, an Ibadan-based human right lawyer, Femi Aborisade, has urged judges and lawyers not to recognise the acting CJN.
Aborisade stated this yesterday while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The lawyer described the appointment of Mohammed as acting CJN as unconstitutional.
He added that the action would serve as a warning to those bent of destroying the democratic institution.