The European Union has expressed concern over the process and timing of the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The European Union Election Observation Mission, EU EOM, on Nigeria’s 2019 general elections stated this in a statement on Saturday.The statement was signed by its Press and Public Outreach Officer, Sarah Fradgley, where it said the suspension raises the question of whether due process was followed.
We reported that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday suspended Onnoghen and appointed Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN .The EU urged all parties to follow all legal processes in line with the constitution of the country.
The statement added, “The European Union was invited by the Independent National Electoral Commission to observe the 2019 general elections.
“The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) is very concerned about the process and timing of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen, on 25 January.
“With 20 days until the presidential and National Assembly elections, political parties, candidates and voters must be able to have confidence in the impartiality and independence of the judicial system.
“The decision to suspend the Chief Justice has led to many Nigerians, including lawyers and civil society observer groups, to question whether due process was followed. The timing, just before the swearing in of justices for Electoral Tribunals and the hearing of election-related cases, has also raised concerns about the opportunity for electoral justice.
“The EU EOM calls on all parties to follow the legal processes provided for in the Constitution and to respond calmly to any concerns they may have.
“The EU EOM will continue observing all aspects of the election, including the independence of the election administration, the neutrality of security agencies, and the extent to which the judiciary can and does fulfill its election-related responsibilities.”