The Nigerian Senate will reconvene on Tuesday to address President Muhammadu Buhari’s “gross misconduct” by removing Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen in flagrant violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
This was confirmed to CHECKPOINTCHARLEY by a National Assembly source, saying the National Assembly would reconvene to discuss the suspension of Mr. Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The Senate had during Thursday’s plenary adjourned sitting until February 19, after the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
However, the decision to reconvene next week followed the illegal suspension of Justice Onnoghen and swearing in of Justice Tanko Muhammed as acting CJN by Buhari on Friday, the source said.
“The leadership of the National Assembly feel they cannot sit and watch the president ruin this democracy we are enjoying. That is why they felt it is necessary to make it clear to Buhari that there are lines you don’t cross in a country where the rule of law applies.
“The Senate will not only deliberate, it will take actions in an attempt to return the country to where it was before Friday,” he said.
When asked if impeachment was on the table, he said, “That is for the distinguished senators to decide. But you will agree with me that gross misconduct is an impeachable offence.”
Senate President, Bukola Saraki had in a statement Friday eveing described Mr. Buhari’s action as a gross misconduct, which is an impeachable offence and a coup against the Nigerian democracy, which the president had done before in 1983 as a military dictator.
He said the president has exercised powers he does not have – “the consequences of which nobody can predict.”
Mr. Saraki described the suspension of the CJN as a coup against democracy and “a deliberate attempt to endanger our hard-won democracy.”
The Senate President, who himself survived a plot of Buhari government to remove him from office, called on all democratic institutions in the country, the international community and democrats across the world to rise against “this blatant act of impunity.”
He added, “This is an action aimed at undermining the nation’s judiciary, subverting the constitution, intimidating judges of all the courts of record, and creating uncertainty in the electoral process, thereby laying the foundation for influencing the outcome of litigations that might arise from next month’s elections.
Buhari had suspended Onnoghen over allegations of false assets declaration.
The Nigerian Bar Association, senior lawyers, civil societies and opposition parties have widely condemned the CJN’s unlawful removal, saying it marks Nigeria’s return to the dark ages.
In separate statements, the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union said the action could have effect on the general election.
The president cited an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), where a six-count charge was filed against Onnoghen.
The suspension of the former CJN has sparked outrage, with critics of the Buhari administration describing it as anti-democratic.
In separate statements, the US, UK and EU said the action could have effect on the general election.