Chief justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen is currently facing trial on charges of failing to declare his assets.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari suspended a Supreme Court Judge on Friday based on corruption allegations which sparked heavy internal controversy ahead of the Feb. 16. national elections.
Chief justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen is currently facing trial on charges of failing to declare his assets. Security agencies have traced suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars into Onnghe’s accounts, according to Buhari.
The suspension is expected to last until the case is concluded. This will the first time a judge at this level has been put on trial in Nigeria.
There are concerns among some in Nigeria that Onnoghen’s suspension coincides with a period when the judge is expected to swear-in members of various election petition tribunals.
The Nigerian Bar Association denounced Buhari’s move as problematic labeling it an “attempted coup against the Nigerian judiciary,” while others in the Senate have criticized the president for acting individually by removing the top court’s judge.
Moreover, Buhari detractors believe he wants to stack the courts with judges who are pliable to his interests, and is manipulating the judicial system in order to achieve this.
“The parliament might also open an inquest into how President Buhari, who parades himself as Mr. Integrity, allegedly procured an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) upon which he announced the illegal suspension of the CJN,” said National Publicity Secretary Director Kola Ologbondiyan.
The prominent issues on voters minds as they approach the polls for the February elections are the high unemployment rates, solutions to addressing a population of 86-million extremely poor people, and the provision of quality healthcare for over 100 million Nigerians in dire need of it.
The incumbent 75-year-old Buhari will run with the All Progressives Congress (APC) party. The president won the 2015 election with the APC, marking one of the few peaceful power transitions in recent history. The APC currently holds a majority in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
The APC’s platform is based on continuing interventionist social policies and increasing the provision of welfare programs for the disadvantaged sectors of the population. Buhari prides himself on being an upright man and for having dealt a heavy blow to Boko Haram and securing the country from terrorist groups.
Buhari’s main opposition is 72-year-old former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, running with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Like the current president, Abubakar is also a Muslim from the Northern part of the country, which means they will be vying for the same sources of support.
The PDP’s neoliberal campaign platform is based on the promise of securing jobs for the eight million unemployed Nigerian youths, as well as seeking to improve on poverty by privatizing the allegedly out-of-use refineries in the country and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.