The now controversial government of president Muhamadu Buhari has asked the United States of America and United Kingdom not to meddle in Nigeria’s internal affairs, a flex of weak diplomatic muscle over the illegal suspension of the country’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen.
A statement by Mr. Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, said as much as Nigeria welcomes interests and partnerships for a successful 2019 general elections, the government would not condone unfair interference in the country’s internal affairs.
The United Kingdom, US, the European Union and other foreign institutions had condemned the removal of Nigeria’s chief judicial officer, days to the 2019 presidential elections, urging the government to retrace its steps.
The Nigerian Bar Association, senior lawyers, civil soceities have also condemned the move by the government, which many believe is to influence the outcome of the election.
The Nigerian Senate has also called back members from recess to address what its president, Bukola Saraki labelled Mr. Buhari’s gross misconduct.
Nigerians had also taken to the Social Media to blast the government, calling Mr. Onnoghen’s removal a coup against the Nigerian democracy.
But the government responded with the statement by Mr. Shehu, which partly read, “Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all.
“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections.
“In addition, the Federal government has ensured the independence of all organs, institutions and arms of government to perform their functions in a manner that is transparent and is not lacking in integrity whether institutionally or by persons within such institutions or organs and will continue to do this.
“Although the question of foreign interference, whether state-sponsored, promoted or otherwise has dominated recent elections and outcomes globally, the federal government assures citizens and the global community that it will fiercely and assiduously promote the will and the right of Nigerians to choose and elect their leaders without pressure or assistance from persons or entities that are not constitutionally empowered to participate in the process.”