Opposition political parties, under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), have said they obtained credible intelligence that a combined team of security agents has been approved by the Presidency to cordon off the venue of the National Judicial Council (NJC) meeting scheduled for Monday, with a view to intimidating them into sacking the suspended Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen, as members proceed to consider the responses to the queries issued to the CJN and Justice Tanko Mohammed, who is acting as chief justice.
CUPP spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere said this on Sunday in a statement, alleging that the security operatives have been handed instructions to do whatever is necessary to ensure the NJC indicts the CJN and absolve Justice Mohammed from blame.
According to Mr. Ugochinyere, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police and another senior officer from the Department of State Services (DSS) have been mandated to coordinate the operation.
He said, “The security agents are to claim that there is intelligence of a possible breach of security which would warrant the increased security.
“They are to coax, coerce and show some members their unfavourable security reports to get them to do the bidding of the government.
“This latest decision was informed by the fact that the Federal Government is aware that the Nigerian opposition has obtained further evidence to prove that the removal of Justice Walter Onnoghen from office by President Buhari is merely for political purpose having failed in a bid to recruit the CJN to support the APC and use the exalted office of the Chief Justice to unduly favour the Party and the President in the post 2019 Supreme Court election petition appeals. Knowing that they do not have anything on the CJN, they have resorted to strong-arm tactics, intimidation and harassment.
“It has come to light that the Interim Investigation Report which was intercepted by the opposition was actually a report of a former investigation by the EFCC which was found to have no merit and which was discarded but was now doctored by the EFCC Chairman and submitted to the President as a purported indictment of the CJN.
“A copy of the statement issued by the former spokesperson of the Commission on September 6, 2017 clearly showed that the EFCC had investigated the CJN following his appointment as Acting CJN and had discarded the petitions after full investigations.
“The Chairman of EFCC is simply framing the CJN in a bid to help shield the Presidency from the obvious unconstitutional act of the removal of the CJN.”
The CUPP spokesman stated that the Interim Report submitted by Magu showed that the investigation covered the period ending in 2016 just before the appointment as acting CJN and the EFCC found the petition lacking in merit. But now reproducing the same report, Magu presented it as an ongoing report aimed at proving that Mr. Onnoghen is corrupt.
Ugochinyere added, “The report also shows that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the investigation both at the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau and exposed the fact that the Vice-President Pastor Yemi Osinbajo was not telling the truth to the entire nation and the world when he publicly claimed that the President was not aware of the activities of the investigating agencies concerning the CJN. Both the Vice President and the EFCC Chairman ought to tender their resignations having been exposed indubitably to have lied to the nation so as to save the government some shame and reference as a lying government. It is now categorical that the government manipulated institutions of state to frame up, blackmail and tarnish the image of persons who refuse to be recruited into their unpatriotic plot.
“Now that the truth has been laid bare, the Nigerian opposition declares that the unlawful and unconstitutional removal of Justice Walter Onnoghen from office by President Muhammadu Buhari was merely a political move and was completely unconnected to any fight against corruption. It is clear that the travails of the CJN is politically motivated, an afterthought, a witch-hunt and a calculated attempt to continue the unwarranted attacks and harassment of the head of the judiciary and third arm of government because he refused to yield his office for trading of judgments and judicial reprieve.
“The factional CJN Tanko Mohammed is now yielding the office of the CJN to the Executive to manipulate the NJC meeting for his own personal gain and to reap the fruit of the illegal forced suspension of Justice Onnoghen. Nigerians are reminded to keep vigil over the venue so that the last hope of the common man is not conquered. Also the members of the NJC are the last line of defence for the judiciary and they bear the burden of standing firm to resist this invasion by these political barbarians by sacking Justice Tanko Mohammed from the bench for conniving to breach the NJC guidelines and the 1999 Constitution. The plot to use security agents to attempt to intimidate members of the NJC is reprehensible, condemnable and repugnant and must be dismantled immediately as continuing with it will be one abuse too many in a constitutional democracy.”