The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has reacted to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, with mixed feelings.
In a press release issued by Mr. Ikenna Aghagbobi, the Media and Publications Officer of CACOL on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Centre stated: “His removal from office is long overdue based on the enormity of the corruption allegations leveled against him and his initial admittance of forgetfulness in declaring those accounts found with humongous sums of money.
CACOL believed that the most honorable thing would have been for him to recuse himself from office after such admittance in order to prevent a continuous embarrassment of his lofty office as the head of the Nigerian Judiciary.
However, the reason CACOL received the news with mixed feelings was because of the relevant constitutional position that forbids the President either by himself or by proxy from removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria for whatever allegations, the only body under the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended) under section 292, is only the Nigerian senate by two-third majority that has that power to remove the CJN.
However, CACOL as an anti-corruption organisation appreciates the fact that it would be unethical for the number 5 man in Nigeria who is the CJN to retain his position while he is facing serious corruption accusations.
“This is why in our previous releases since the breakout of the scandal, CACOL has always maintained that tact and caution should be employed by the executive in handling this tenuous issue, since it is unprecedented, sensitive and happening in an uncommon season, the Federal Government should be very careful in final resolution of this matter, especially during this election period so that its good intentions would not be misconstrued by a cross-section of Nigerians and the International community.” The statement said.