Nigeria’s Opposition parties under the umbrella Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) on Friday said they have uncovered a plot by the government of President Muhammadu to arrest the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Tuesday and immediately name Justice Tanko Muhammed as acting CJN.
CUPP spokesperson, Imo Ugochinyere disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, saying Nigeria’s democracy is currently in danger..
Mr. Ugochinyere said arrangement has been concluded for the arrest to be carried out shortly after a bench warrant would have been issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal against the CJN.
He said, “Members of the cabal in the Presidency have just concluded a meeting last night (Thursday) where they have now set the stage to burn down the institution of democracy and constitutional governance for the purpose of achieving a narrow aim of annexing the judiciary.
“Just a few hours after our release of the secret letter directing the freezing of the account of the CJN illegally without a court order, these men have at the end of their meeting last (Thursday) night directed the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, to disregard the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja which has directed the tribunal to maintain status quo.
“They have asked him to go ahead to issue a bench warrant on the next adjourned date being Tuesday, January 22 in the event the CJN does not appear in court.
“The meeting of the Presidency cabal also resolved and directed the new Acting Inspector-General of Police that the immediate arrest of the CJN on the same Tuesday as effort will be made to ensure he is served with the order same day, following the issuance of the arrest warrant would be
his litmus test for his speedy confirmation as the substantive Inspector-General.”
The CUPP spokesman further alleged the cabal had agrred that a fresh petition against Onnoghen would immediately be forwarded to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
However Sec. 231 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution states: The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.