Minister of Information and Culture has condemned those who are critising the sacking of Justice Walter Onnoghen, former Chief Justice of Nigeria. Lai Mohammed said they are insincere and “hypocritical”
Apart from internal outburst over the action of President Muhammadu Buhari sacking CJN Onnoghen, international communities have also joined to say the timing was faulty.
The United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union have all joined, issuing statements about the sacking.
Members of the opposition notably the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senior lawyers and human rights activists have divided opinion over Onnoghen’s suspension.
But speaking with journalists in Kwara state on Saturday, the Information Minister as usual defended the action of the president, taunting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for suspending its presidential campaign in protest.
Mohammed wondered if there was a relationship between Onnoghen and the PDP that Nigerians are not aware of.
“Which Campaign? Their campaign was over a long time ago. There is nothing to suspend. We said it that their campaign had floundered,” he was quoted as saying by TheCable.
“And in any event, let’s ask them this question: Is there something that they know that we don’t know? Is there something between them and the suspended CJN? Otherwise, we did not see why they should suspend their campaign anyway, but I can understand that their campaign was bound to end this way.
“For anybody who read Mr. President’s address yesterday, two things stood out. The first is that additional evidence has just been revealed that the suspended CJN refused to declare millions of dollars in his possession.
“More worrisome is the fact that when the suspended CJN was confronted with the petition that he failed to declare his assets, he added that it was a mistake, that he forgot.
“Now, I would have been a happier person if the same people who are now crying tyranny and dictatorship could really address the issue raised by the President, in his address on Friday, that addition investigations have revealed that several millions of dollars were found in the CJN’s account.
“And when the CJN was confronted with the original allegation, he admitted that he forgot to make full declaration, and that it was a mistake.
“The critics are being hypocritical and insincere to say that it is right for a CJN to be in possession of millions of dollars unaccounted for and not declared as required by law.”
Lai Muhammed submitted that President Buhari didn’t take the action in isolation, neither unilaterally, according to him the president merely carried out an order of a court of competent jurisdiction directing him to suspend the chief justice pending the final determination of the case against him.
Troubled started with Onnoghen when it was discovered that he is operating foreign accounts which contains millions of foreign currencies he failed to declare in his assets while being sworn as the number one judicial officer.