Nigeria: Protesters Give Buhari One Week to Recall Suspended CJN Onnoghen

Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen.
27 January 2019

Protesters who gathered outside the Lagos office of Channels Television on Sunday have given the government one week to recalled suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was billed to appear for an interview on Sunday on the station's weekend programme, "Rubbin'Minds",

Mr Osinbajo canceled his planned appearance. According to his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, the cancellation was due to campaign exigences. He, however, promised that the vice president's team is working with the producers of the programme to reschedule another interview.

The demonstrators numbering about 40 said the government should be ready for more protest if it does not reverse its removal of Mr Onnoghen after the deadline.

Mr Onnoghen's removal by President Muhammadu Buhari has sparked outrage across the country with many describing the removal of the country's top judge as violation of the Nigerian Constitution.

The government of the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union have all condemned the manner the CJN was removed arguing that the removal does not portend well for the impartiality for the forthcoming February 16 presidential election.

The protesters demanded that the Buhari administration reinstate Mr Onnoghen, saying that his actions have returned Nigerians to the dark days of Sani Abacha.

"As a professor of law, he should know the law. As a SAN, he should know the law. But he is sitting down there and he is deputizing somebody who is basically flouting the rule of law," said Chidi Okereke, one of the protesters, about Mr Osinbajo.

"We are afraid of the precedence, we don't want a future where any president can wake up to fire the CJN with the CCT that is directly under the presidency, this decision will erode the independence of the Judiciary," said Ayobami Adekojo, another protester.

"Enough is enough. If Buhari wants to change the Chief Justice of Nigeria, He should follow due process. Buhari cannot just remove him and puts someone he wants to favour him during the coming election. This is what we Nigerians are not going to accept. We can accept other things but this one we are not going to accept. Buhari we are calling you out change your ways. Buhari this is not military but democracy. Buhari change your ways," said another protester who identified himself simply as Andy.

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