CJN: Presidency warns against blackmailing Buhari

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Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Presidency, on Wednesday warned some Nigerians against capitalizing on the delayed transmission of the name of Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen to the Senate to blackmail President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reacting to concerns shown by the Cross River State National Assembly Caucus over the alleged delay by the president in sending the name of Onnoghen to the Senate for screening and subsequent confirmation as substantive CJN, Special Assistant to the President on prosecution, Chief Okoi Okono Obla, asked Nigerians to be patient, saying, “the system will take care of itself when the Acting CJN’s tenure expires.”

Obla insisted that the president has not done anything wrong by his delayed action, saying the current situation was common in most states of the federation.

“We have an acting CJN of Nigeria. Well, if his tenure ends, the system will take care of itself. I don’t think the president has done anything wrong.

“In Nigeria, in the judicial branch of government, we have seen this happen. In my own state, Cross River State, the Chief Judge who is the current one was appointed on acting capacity and when his tenure expired, he was again appointed on acting capacity. So, trying to blackmail the president over this is bad.

“People are trying to read ethnic meanings, religious meanings and regional meanings to this because in Nigeria, everything is being looked at from the sectional perspective, I think they are not being fair to the president,” he said.

He went on to condemn some of the concerns raised by the Cross River state National Assembly. He said, “For goodness sake, has the president not appointed people from that very state where the Acting CJN comes from?

“Recently, the Auditor General of the Federation was appointed from that state based on merit, because he came first in the interview conducted and the president appointed him. The Chief of Naval Staff was the fifth in the Naval hierarchy but the president appointed him Chief of Naval Staff.So what are they saying?

“So, the president would respect the law, would respect the Constitution as far as the appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is concerned. But people should stop reading unnecessary meanings,” he charged.

When asked if the Acting CJN can still be appointed on acting status, Obla responded, “What I’m saying here is that the process will take care of itself. There wouldn’t be any vacuum, the process would take care of itself.”

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