Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen or face a sustained national resistance from Nigerians, according to a report by the Daily Trust.
He said the suspension of the CJN is the conclusion of the APC-led federal government’s hijack of the judiciary.
Governor Wike spoke on Saturday during a courtesy visit by representatives of the National Executive Committee of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria at the Government House, Port Harcourt,
He said there must be a sustained national resistance to reverse “Buhari’s act of impunity.”
Wike stated that if Nigerians allow ‘this criminal action” to succeed, they should embrace the death of an independent judiciary.
“The suspension of the CJN is unfortunate. I raised an alarm when the Federal Government tested the waters by going to abduct judges at midnights. I knew what the Federal Government intends to achieve. The whole essence was to put the judiciary in their pocket.
“The then NBA leadership played into their hands. They allowed politics and religion to becloud their sense of patriotism. It is not the removal of the CJN that is the issue. There is no more judiciary. No judge will henceforth deliver contrary judgement based on law against the Federal Government,” Wike said.
He added that the challenge before all Nigerians is to rise up in practical defence of the nation’s democracy and judiciary.
He said: “Beside condemnation, concrete steps must be taken to ensure that they change their minds. There is no way that Satan can change his mind by mere statements.”
The governor said the alleged script of the Buhari administration is to create a situation where they can easily destroy judges through flimsy allegations and illegal actions.
“This unconstitutional action of the President has several negative ramifications. A governor who hates his State Chief Judge can concoct a petition and unilaterally remove him”, he said.
Wike alleged that Rivers state is the prime target of the Buhari administration. He said that the new CJN and other judges are under instructions to upturn judgements of courts in states where the APC is in intra-party crisis.
“The whole thing is because APC has crisis in Rivers state. Just because of that, you destroy the whole institution. They want another CJN that will upturn everything. These are the type of actions that generate insecurity,” he said.
Governor Wike alleged that Federal Government has already started intimidating the justices of the Court of Appeal for them to give a legal stamp to the unconstitutional suspension of the CJN.
The governor said that if President Muhammadu Buhari gets away with ‘this crime against the constitution”, he will go for a third term.
He stressed that if the suspension of the CJN succeeds, Nigerians should bid credible polls farewell saying that the federal government can unilaterally sack the National Chairman of INEC over any flimsy excuse.
Wike said the next victims of intimidation will be the media, noting that media proprietors would be hounded by the EFCC and compelled to dish out lies and half truths.
He alleged that Federal Government has used ethnicity and religion to divide lawyers, so as to justify their actions.
Earlier, the Outgoing President of FIDA, Mrs. Inime Aguma, said the suspension of the CJN may lead to a national crisis that will negatively affect women and children.
FIDA called on the Federal government to have a rethink on the illegal suspension of the CJN.
With reporting from the Daily Trust