Ohaneze Ndigbo Con­demns Trial of Onnoghen


Se­gun James

The apex Igbo so­cio-cul­tural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo has con­demned the planned ar­raign­ment of the Chief Jus­tice of Nige­ria (CJN), Jus­tice Wal­ter Onnoghen, de­scrib­ing the ac­tion as shock­ing, sec­tional and provoca­tive.

The Pres­i­dent of Ohaneze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said the pan Igbo so­cio-cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tion re­ceived with shock and dis­ap­point­ment, the de­ci­sion of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to pros­e­cute Onnoghen.

“Le­gal opin­ion abound that the ac­tion is pre­ma­ture and ill con­ceived fol­low­ing an ex­tant Court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion which in­ter­prets the pro­ce­dure for pros­e­cut­ing ju­di­cial of­fi­cers. This pro­ce­dure has not been fol­lowed. The fact that the Na­tional Ju­di­cial Coun­cil (NJC) has been ig­nored is not just il­le­gal but sug­gests de­lib­er­ate court shop­ping and a pre­de­ter­mined ob­jec­tive.

“Se­condly, the fact that one of the is­sues be­ing can­vassed by the CCB be­fore the CCT is for an order of the CCT for the Chief Jus­tice of Nige­ria to step aside from his ex­alted of­fice pend­ing the con­clu­sion of the trial con­trary to the pro­ce­dure for his re­moval from of­fice as pro­vided by the Nige­rian con­sti­tu­tion ex­poses the aim of the pros­e­cu­tion.

“A pe­rusal of some of the de­po­si­tions in the charge sheet also shows a com­pletely dis­torted con­cep­tion of the reg­u­la­tions per­tain­ing to the dec­la­ra­tion of as­sets. As­sets ac­quired af­ter as­sump­tion of of­fice are de­clared at the end of a pub­lic of­fi­cial’s ten­ure in order to present a com­par­i­son with as­sets de­clared on as­sump­tion of of­fice.

“The fed­eral gov­ern­ment is heat­ing up the polity. Not long ago we were en­ter­tained with all sorts of in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the Vice Pres­i­dent’s pow­ers while the Pres­i­dent is on leave. The Group Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of NNPC was ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing laws per­tain­ing to the award of con­tracts. Be­cause he comes from a pro­tected eth­nic group and class, no in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted.

“Fu­lani herds­man killed 110 na­tives of Nimbo in Enugu State. Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions led to the ar­rest of some of the herds­man with their tele­phone pic­tures of the car­nage but not one has been pros­e­cuted .

“The same car­nage took place in Benue State. Pic­tures of the mur­der­ers wear­ing the uni­form of the choir mem­bers of a Catholic church where they mur­dered their priests and mem­bers of their con­gre­ga­tion were all over the so­cial me­dia. No one was ar­rested or pros­e­cuted.

“Their spon­sors, Miyetti Al­lah, ad­dressed a press con­fer­ence re­cently ex­tolling their eth­nic agenda and mak­ing de­ci­sive and in­cit­ing state­ments. Not one of them was ar­rested.

“The in­sen­si­tive­ness of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to re­spect for our con­sti­tu­tion and it’s pa­tron­age of dou­ble stan­dards in the en­force­ment of the law is sick­en­ing and ab­hor­rent,” Nwodo added.

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