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NOTICE OF POSTPONEMENT

NOTICE OF POSTPONEMENT OF THE CLASFON-DIRECTORATE OF ANTI CORRUPTION, RULE OF LAW & GOOD GOVERNANCE (DARG) CORRUPT FREE JUDICIARY PROJECT STAKEHOLDERS SUMMIT IN LIEU OF THE PANDEMIC OUTBREAK

The general public is hereby put on notice that the above Directorate stakeholders summit project tagged ’’towards a corrupt-free Judiciary’’ scheduled to hold the 30th and 31st of March, 2020 is hereby postponed.

The postponement is in our quest for safety first for our guests, speakers/facilitators, participants etc in the light of the ongoing pandemic outbreak in Nigeria and in the FCT vis a vis Government and the Judiciary directives on the restriction of crowd/public gatherings and social distancing as a preventive measure to flatten the curve against the contamination or spread of COVID -19.

A later date shall be communicated accordingly.

While commending and praying for all medical experts/health workers in the front line at this challenging time; we urge us all to please take preventive measures against the contamination or spread of COVID-19.

We pray Almighty God protection on us all and His healing over Nigeria.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

God bless our Judiciary

Thank you

Yours Faithfully,

Beauty Ese Uwaokhonye, Esq.                                  Aimua Okosun, Esq

DARG  Director                                                        DARG Secretary

08037779757                                                          08039236933

E-mails: darg@clasfon.org.ng,                                   clasfondarg@gmail.com

 

CLASFON STATEMENT ON COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On Tuesday, 24th March 2020, the Prime Minister of India put the entire population of 1.3 billion people on a 3 weeks nationwide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sum of $2 billion was allocated for additional health care measures.

In Nigeria, the Lagos State Government alongside side a few other States, appear to be quite proactive in the way they are handling the issue but these laudable measures may not achieve much if the coronavirus is given an opportunity to spread. A stitch in time saves nine!

It is glaring to any discerning observer that a complete nationwide lock down is imminent. The experience of developed countries despite all their medical expertise, available personnel and existing state of the art medical equipment/facilities, became overwhelmed in a matter of days by the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed to take emergency measures to quickly expand their medical infrastructure. In Italy and Spain for example, deaths arising from confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached an alarming rate and their Governments were forced to impose strict restrictions on the movement of their citizens since the virus spread easily based on human to human contacts. This was exactly what China did in Wuhan to stem the spread of COVID-19. This virus is anti-social and has challenged the way we live and socialize to the limits.

In our situation, I understand that 33 States do not have Labs to test for this novel coronavirus. Many of our teaching hospitals are grossly ill equipped. You can imagine that for the whole country, we have only a handful of ventilators. Indeed, how many isolation centres do we have? What is the capacity of the isolation centres? How ready and equipped are these isolation centres to confront this threat? These questions and many more cannot be easily answered. Our people are faced with an imminent danger of great magnitude and the Federal Government has to go beyond the piecemeal approach of some state governments to save lives. This is not the time to linger in indecision. Every day, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing. We thank God and deeply appreciate the sacrifice of our medical personnel that has kept mortality figures at the lowest margin possible. This indeed is the Hand of God at work.

In view of the above, CLASFON Branches are advised to suspend their meetings and other planned programs for now while exploring other safe means of sustaining our vision. Let’s begin to come to terms with the present reality and challenge we are faced with.

I personally urge members in all our Branches to stay at home. Begin to prepare yourself and your family for the eventuality of a total lockdown of at least 2 weeks. The basic preventive protocol as advised should be observed to the letter. If you can, get enough food at home and avoid any frivolous spending. As government does its part, take personal responsibility for your life and those around you by doing your part. This will make the task of government a bit easier.

I don’t intend that we act out of fear or panic but wisdom is profitable to direct. Kindly disregard fake news and several conspiracy theories that will confuse you and compromise your defences. We need to do whatever we can to avert the imminent public health danger facing us all. If some of our own political leaders are already victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, it means it can befall any Nigerian.

As Christians, we are a people of power and praise because of the abundant grace of God. Let’s use faith to confront fear and use our common sense to act decisively to avert the real danger facing us even as we put our confidence and trust in the LORD to weather this storm. By the grace of God, there’s HELP ALL THE WAY. With A RIGHT HEART we can face this extraordinary challenge in times like this.

 

God bless and keep you.

Arome M. Okwori,

CLASFON President

 

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE PRESIDENT-IN-COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) HELD IN KADUNA, KADUNA STATE FROM THE 12TH TO 14TH MARCH 2020

INTRODUCTION:

The Quarterly Meeting of the President-in-Council, a body comprised of the National Executive Officers and the Chairmen and Secretaries of all the 46 branches and Heads and Secretaries of the Directorates of CLASFON held from the 12th to 14th March 2020 to deliberate on issues concerning the Nation and CLASFON.

OVERVIEW:

The 2-day meeting had in attendance the national officers and the representatives of the branches. The National President presided over the meeting as well as technical sessions. During the technical sessions, participants extolled the manifestation of a new zeal to actualize the vision of CLASFON which is to see ‘A New Legal Profession Anchored on Christ’.

ISSUES:

The meeting deliberated, among others, on the following issues:

  • The general state of insecurity and persecution of Christians
  • FGN Policy on Repentant terrorists
  • The consistent interference with the Judiciary by the members of the Executive;
  • Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Kajuru crisis;
  • The Social Media Bill;
  • Immunity for National Assembly Presiding Officers;
  • The brutal use of force by uniformed persons against civilians;
  • Global Pandemic due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COMMENTS AND RESOLUTIONS:

The recommendations and conclusions arising from the issues are as follows-

CLASFON is saddened at the continuous persecution of Christians in Nigeria and the downward slide in the state of insecurity. We note with sadness the cold murder of Rev. Lawan Indimi, Ropvil Dayep and 9 other Christians by ISWAP as revenge for the killing of their Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and continued attacks on predominantly Christians communities and Churches especially in Chibok, Minchika and other places.

CLASFON commends the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for openly admitting that terrorists were targeting Christians which underscores the need for more proactive steps to protect Christian communities. The pattern of repeated lamentations over continued killings in Nigeria must stop. We call on the Federal Government to review the current security apparatus in order to defeat the terrorist and so that they can face the full wrath of the law for their despicable crimes.

CLASFON notes with dismay various acts of kidnappings, abduction for ransom with pastors and missionaries as primary targets, cult-related killings, attack on vulnerable communities by terrorists, bandits and herdsmen across many States in Nigeria despite huge resources deployed by Federal Government to curb insecurity.

CLASFON calls again on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even more loudly, to take more seriously the responsibility of the protection of the lives and properties of all residents of Nigeria as provided by the Constitution and other relevant laws, leaving no stone unturned to secure the release Leah Sharibu and many others in the custody and captivity of insurgents and bandits.

CLASFON observes with grave concern the Federal Government policy on rehabilitation of the so-called repented Boko Haram terrorists while paying less attention to the plight of victims.

We call on the Federal Government to resist the temptation of promoting the culture of impunity and lawlessness by ensuring that those who have committed heinous murderous acts against citizens on a wide scale are made to face the full wrath of the law. Anything short of this is unacceptable as it shows that terrorism against the State pays and unwittingly make a mockery of the effort of the Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism. The morale of our Soldiers fighting terrorism and justice for the victims must not be compromised.

We call on the Federal Government jettison this policy and to urgently direct that more attention to giving help to the victims of insurgency and how to ameliorate the hardship and trauma faced by them.

CLASFON observes with dismay political interference by the Executive arm in the affairs of the Judiciary. The confusion orchestrated by the appointment of Acting Chief Judges in Gombe and Cross Rivers State is a case in point. CLASFON is concerned that the current Acting Chief Judges gender, ethnic and religious sentiments have been brought to bear in the appointments instead of the established convention of seniority and competence. The action of the Governors of Gombe and Cross Rivers State is capable of interfering with the smooth administration of justice in both State.

CLASFON calls on the National Judicial Council to stamp its authority by ensuring that established convention in the appointment of Chief Judge of a State is not abused thereby compromising judicial independence in those States. We call on the Governors of Gombe and Cross River to respond to the public outcry that has greeted the current appointments of Acting Chief Judges in both States by following the already laid down convention of the NJC in order to correct the negative perception of interference with the independence of the judiciary in their States.

CLASFON commends the Kaduna State Government for setting up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Kajuru killings that resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and destruction of property.

We note the terms of reference of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and hope that as the truth is discovered, the Kaduna State Government will not follow the usual tradition of consigning the report to the archives and the dustbin of history but take appropriate steps to ensure justice for the people of Adara Chiefdom while punishing the culprits responsible for the mayhem in order to avert future occurrence.

CLASFON expresses her objection to the Social Media Bill currently being processed by the National Assembly. We consider the proposed Bill as an attempt to gag the freedom of speech which is a recognised fundamental right necessary to sustain our democracy.

CLASFON calls on the National Assembly to hearken to the voice of reason and the cry of well-meaning and concerned Nigerians by deactivating the proposed Bill forthwith.

CLASFON also observes with concern the Bill seeking to confer immunity on Presiding Officers of the National Assembly against the backdrop that membership of the National assembly is not limited by a tenured term.

We call on the National Assembly to retrace its steps back from this slippery slope. We urge them to borrow a leaf from contemporary trends on immunity from other climes where leaders even give up their immunity by subjecting themselves to the rule of law.

CLASFON observes with dismay the widespread abuse of the rights of citizens by resort to the wanton use of brutal force by uniformed persons in furtherance of their course. These ugly incidences have now become a recurrent decimal in recent times. We condemn in totality any form of violence and brutalisation of Lawyers.

We urge the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector General of Police to take urgent steps to halt to curb this ugly trend and to heed the call for reforms in the training of their personnel on how they relate with civilians.

CLASFON notes with grave concern the evolving trend globally with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We implore government at all levels to take proactive measures to contain the spread of the virus, and towards saving the lives of those already infected.

We call on all Nigerians not to panic but trust God and be prayerful while we all cooperate with the Government to ensure safety for all our citizens.

 

AROME OKWORI                                                              OLATUNJI OMOLE

NATIONAL PRESIDENT                                                   NATIONAL SECRETARY

 

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE PRESIDENT – IN- COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) HELD ON THE 7TH – 9TH NOVEMBER 2019 AT ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE PRESIDENT – IN- COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON) HELD ON THE 7TH – 9TH NOVEMBER 2019 AT ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE

Introduction:
The quarterly meeting of the President-in-Council, a body comprised of the National Executive Officers of CLASFON, Chairmen and Secretaries of all the 45 branches held from the 7th to 9th of November 2019 to deliberate on issues concerning the Nation and CLASFON.
Overview:
The 2-day meeting had the presence of National Officers and the representatives of the Branches. The National President presided over the meeting.
After extensive and exhaustive deliberation on issues, the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) came up with the following Resolutions:
ISSUES:
The meeting deliberated on the following issues-
1. Poor working conditions and inadequate infrastructure for the Judiciary in our Nation
2. General and pervasive Insecurity in our Nation
3. Multiple taxation and charges by the Federal Government and its Agencies
4. Illegal activities of the Nigerian Customs Service
5. Activities of the Nigerian Army

Comments and Resolutions:
The Recommendations and resolutions arising from the issues are as follows:
1. CLASFON commends, in particular, the government of Ogun State and other States of the Federation who have created an enabling environment for the Judiciary in terms of infrastructure and personal welfare of the judicial officers, thereby enhancing justice delivery. CLASFON encourages other States of the Federation to emulate this gesture, as most of the court buildings throughout the Nation are in a pitiable and sorry state and the welfare of Magistrates and Judges is very deplorable. CLASFON, therefore, calls on the Federal and State governments to declare a State of Emergency on the welfare of the judicial officers, funding for State Judiciaries and working environment for the administration of justice nationwide.

2. CLASFON views with dismay the daily rising tide of insecurity in the Country. It is glaring that Judges, lawyers and other law enforcement officers are now endangered species and have become easy prey to kidnappers. CLASFON, therefore, calls on the Federal Government to take seriously the issue of security and ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians particularly the Judges as it is the primary duty of any responsible government.

3. CLASFON frowns at the way and manner multiple taxes, rates and charges are being imposed on the already impoverished citizens of Nigeria and hereby call on the Federal Government to reverse this ugly trend and mitigate the hardship on Nigerians.

4. CLASFON views with dismay, the high-handedness and illegal activities of Nigerian Customs Service officials on Nigerian roads and their illegal raids of some premises, thus portraying Nigeria as a lawless nation. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to call them to order and demand that they discharge their duty professionally and in line with the statutes establishing the organization.

5. CLASFON views with disdain, the new policy of the Ministry of Interior approving only twelve (12) marriage registries in Nigeria as well as the fees imposed on Churches and prospective couples as discriminatory and an attempt to impose unnecessary restrictions and bottlenecks on statutory marriages in Nigeria; we, therefore, call on the Federal Government to reverse this discriminatory and oppressive policy targeted at discouraging statutory/Christian marriages.

6. CLASFON observes with grave displeasure the attempt by the Federal Government to muzzle freedom of speech by its purported attempt to regulate the activities on the social media given the fact that we have enough legislation to check the abuse of free speech through legal processes such as libel and defamation suit. We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to desist from this draconian approach against the Nigerian people.

7. CLASFON frowns at the purported positive identification program proposed to be embarked upon by the Nigerian Army and the likelihood of gross violations of the fundamental rights of Nigerians as guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended). Furthermore, CLASFON views this act as a usurpation of the primary duty of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

AROME OKWORI                                                                                  TUNJI OMOLE
National President                                                                               National Secretary

PRESS RELEASE-ILLEGALITY OF THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF MONDAY UBANI ESQ

MONDAY UBANI ESQ

ILLEGALITY OF THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF MONDAY UBANI ESQ 

The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria, Directorate of Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law and Good Governance (CLASFON-DARG) joins the rest of the World to condemn the incessant harassment of Legal Practitioners in general and the continued detention of Mr. Monday Ubani, a former 2nd Vice President of the NBA, in particular by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

We are deeply concerned that in spite of the fact that a competent Court of law had made a valid Order directing the EFCC to charge Mr. Ubani to Court on or before March 28, 2019 or release him from detention, in furtherance of their penchant for abuse of power and outright lawlessness, the EFCC has held on to him without arraigning him and in defiance to the time-honored principle of the rule of law. This precarious development has put Mr. Ubani’s health in grave danger as he is reported to have fainted after suffering severe dehydration and high blood pressure, having been subjected to unwarranted physical, psychological and emotional trauma. We like to remind the EFCC that it is a creature of law and it is bound by the Constitution and other laws of the Land that guarantees the right of every Nigerian to liberty. The prolonged and continued incarceration of Mr. Ubani in EFCC custody without trial cannot take cover under the exception in Section 35(1)(c) of the 1999 Constitution as the length of time already spent in custody without an arraignment is unreasonable and untenable.

We have taken notice of the reported unconstitutional practice by the EFCC of demanding that lawyers stand as sureties for their clients before they can be released on bail. This practice amounts to arm-twisting and is highly condemnable and smacks of nothing but cheap blackmail of members of the legal profession. The action of EFCC in arresting Mr. Ubani in lieu of his client who is the suspect negates all established norms of administration of justice. Specifically, Section 7 of the Administration of Justice Act prohibits the arrest of any person in lieu of a suspect. Our view of the law is that where a surety fails or is unable to produce a suspect, as alleged in this case, the recognizance is simply a bond giving rise to a civil debt with a special enforcement procedure requiring the surety to show cause, which is civil in nature. There is nothing criminal about the procedure and the continued detention of Mr. Ubani is unconstitutional, illegal and smacks of highhandedness.

Even in countries where democracy is not practised, the rights of the citizens are secured and preserved; it is therefore very sad that our democracy is on trial and the rule of law which forms the fulcrum of orderliness and decency in every sane society is seriously under threat in Nigeria. It is imperative to note that Mr. Ubani is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court. Therefore, if there is any other allegation against him apart from the fact that his client breached her bail terms, let him be charged to court. Let the court pronounce on the merit of the case. This Directorate stands for compliance with and promotion of the Rule of Law and will not relent in advocating for same and engaging with the Government or any of her agencies that is bent on trampling on due process.

In saner climes, governments and their agencies work with great respect for the rule of law but the reverse is beginning to take the centre stage in Nigeria. We urge all to keep faith, soldier on, and continue to speak to those in power that the non-observance of global protocols is reprehensible. We say once again that the rule of law upon which the principles of justice, equity, and good governance stand is seriously being eroded by the barbaric actions of the EFCC and by the continued detention of our colleague without trial as it amounts to a gross violation of his Constitutional right which is our supreme law. Assuming without conceding that Mr. Ubani breached the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners by standing surety for his client as alleged, prolonged detention or detention at all in EFCC custody is not the punishment for such breach. If EFCC has a case in that regard, it should make representations to the appropriate authorities officially and quit hiding under the Rules of Professional Conduct to commit grievous constitutional infractions. Such antics with colourations of blackmail cannot fly.

We, therefore, call on the authorities at the EFCC and demand for the immediate unconditional release and or arraignment of Mr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani before a competent court to enable him to attend to his failing and deteriorating health conditions.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

SIGNED

Beauty Lawrence

Director, Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law and Good

Aimuamosa Okoson

Directorate Secretary, Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law and Good

 

 

 

CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON)- POSITION ON INEC’S POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2019 PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS 

CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON)- POSITION ON INEC’S POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2019 PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS 

The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), like many other stakeholders as well as countless observers, was shocked to hear the announcement in the early hours of 16th February, 2019 by the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections from 16th February, 2019 to 23rd February, 2019  and the Gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections from 2nd March to 9th March, 2019. We consider this development as disheartening.

Considering the fact that the schedule for the 2019 General elections was released by INEC over a year ago, the fact that the 2019 elections are the most expensive in the history of Nigeria, the assurances INEC had repeatedly given to the eleventh hour, of its readiness to hold free, fair and credible elections at the scheduled times and the significant international attention the elections have attracted as demonstrated by the large presence of international observers, one cannot but shudder at the explanation of logistic challenges of implementation of the election schedule proffered by INEC as the sole reason for the postponement of the elections.

There is no doubt that the postponement of the polls has resulted in considerable loss of time, earnings and human and material resources for individuals, families, businesses, Civil Society Organisations, the political parties/party candidates, international governmental organisations, development partners and the Federal Government of Nigeria, among others.

The postponement of elections viewed against the backdrop of the specific request for same addressed to INEC by the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice makes it compelling for a reasonable person to draw the inference that INEC may not be totally free from political pressure. We however note the assurances of the Chairman of INEC that only logistical challenges have occasioned the shift in election dates.

We urge INEC to justify the shift in the dates for the general elections by delivering the best elections in the history of Nigeria.

We commend the patriotic sacrifices of Nigerians demonstrated so far and in the present circumstances, we urge our compatriots to be patient and go through the process with the resilience we are known for.

We call on all political actors to desist from putting under pressures on INEC while we remind the electoral body to discharge her duties as an unbiased and truly independent umpire. We call on all the organs of the Federal Government of Nigeria to support INEC as mandated by the Constitution to succeed in this important national assignment. The whole world is watching us and we cannot afford to let our citizens down.

We call on all eligible voters and Nigerians to remain law abiding, calm and not to be discouraged, but to see the disappointment as one great sacrifice to make for our dear country and thus be prepared to go out and vote on these new dates. We as a people owe this duty to our country to resist voter apathy which may undermine the credibility of the elections. By doing this, we shall demonstrate our resolve to ensure only credible and worthy leaders are voted into office.

As an organisation, we (CLASFON) had carried out sensitization campaigns across the nation urging the populace to shun violence and vote trading, during and after the elections. We believe our messages resonated well with the Nigerian electorate and will find fulfilment in the engagements with politicians during the forthcoming elections.

We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of sensitive election materials that have already gone out and implore INEC to institute a transparent process for their retrieval or recall and safe keeping ahead of their time of use. This will allay the fears of all stakeholders in view of media reports of fake or thumb printed ballot papers and other sensitive electoral documents in the public domain.

We suggest a reorganisation of INEC’s logistics infrastructure to cope with the challenges of our environment and call for a periodic update to critical stakeholders on the progress made to ensure that INEC deliver credible polls on 23rd February, and 9th March, 2019.

We urge all Nigerians to see beyond our present challenges and to embrace hope bearing in mind that all things will work together for the good of Nigeria and the welfare of its citizens and residents.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Arome M. Okwori
National President

Olatunji Omole
National Secretary

Dated Saturday, the 16th day of February, 2019.

NJC Gives Onnoghen, Acting CJN Seven Days To Respond To Petitions

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has given Justice Walter Onnoghen and the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, seven days to respond to different petitions written against them.

The NJC gave the ultimatum on Tuesday during an emergency meeting which was presided over by a former president of the Appeal Court, Justice Umar Abdullahi.

In total, the NJC considered four petitions including one against the Chairman of the Code Of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, which was referred to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.

The NJC is to reconvene on February 11, 2019.

Read the other petitions in the statement below.

PRESS RELEASE

29th January, 2019

NJC ends Emergency Meeting

Gives Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR seven (7) working days to respond to petitions.

Refers petition against CCT Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
To reconvene on 11th February 2019.

The National Judicial Council held an Emergency Meeting today and considered four (4) petitions filed at its Secretariat. The petitions are:

Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education;

Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative;

Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and

Petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.

Council referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.

In line with its procedure, Council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I. T. Muhammad, CFR to them for their responses.

In view of the gravity of the matters involved, Council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.

Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR recused themselves from the meeting. Consequently, Council elected Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, former President of the Court of Appeal as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.

Council will reconvene on the 11th February 2019.

Soji Oye, Esq.
Director (Information)

 

Source: www.channelstv.com

FIDA NIGERIA STATEMENT ON THE SUSPENSION OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA, JUSTICE WALTER ONNOGHEN FIDA 2019

When tyranny & oppression come to the land, it will be in the guise of fighting crime” ~ James Madison

On Friday, 25 January 2019, the legal sector was jolted by the news that President Muhammad Buhari had suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and immediately replaced him with Justice Tanko Muhammed as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria expressly condemns this unconstitutional act by the President and notes that this is a move which signals a total disrespect for the Rule of Law and in turn the fundamental rights of the citizenry. This is not only distressing, it is absolutely objectionable.

Immediately after the act, President Buhari explained in a 25-paragraph speech that he was complying with an order made ex-parte by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which was dated the 23rd day of January 2019. In paragraph 10 of the speech, the President noted that “Nigeria is a constitutional democracy, and no one must be, or be seen to be, above the law.” Yet, it is contended that the very reason the President relies on as a motive for the swift suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), is what he essentially has disregarded. By undermining and contravening the provisions of S292 and paragraph 21(b) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) on the process for removal (temporary or permanent) of the CJN, President Buhari can be said to be acting above the law.

 

In August 2018, at the opening ceremony of the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, President Buhari made a remark that shook the nation, when he said that “the Rule of Law must be subjected to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest”. That statement gave a deep insight into the flawed governing strategy applied by the President and the Federal Executive Council. The President’s suspension of the CJN is a clear example of this flawed governing strategy. Respect for Rule of Law and protection of the fundamental rights of the citizenry is the foundation of any democratic society, and so issues of national interest must be dealt with in accordance with the Rule of Law, and with due regard for Fundamental Rights.

The curious speed and timing of the progress of the Tribunal trial of Justice Onnoghen suggests a coup against the judicial arm of government and an attack on the independence and integrity of the Judiciary. The law is expressly clear on how the CJN can be removed from office and neither the Code of Conduct Bureau nor the Code of Conduct Tribunal are vested with that power. Due process for the removal of the CJN is by recommendation of the National Judicial Council, followed by an address presented to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which then requires approval by a two-thirds majority vote. No aspect of this process was followed and this confirms neglect for due process and the Separation of Powers which the Constitution so clearly provides for and guarantees.

Furthermore, the President can be seen to be acting against court orders from the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court which he ought to be aware of, and this is deeply distressing. If the President can be seen to foster the culture of impunity which is already so entrenched in the Nigerian society, where then is the hope for regular citizens that the legal system can be entrusted? Where is the hope that the right to a fair hearing will be enforced and secured?  How can the government maintain its authority to demand that its citizens comply with the Constitution if it does not do so itself? There are so many questions to ask in this sorry saga. If the Federal Government is really a respecter of the Rule of Law, then it should also respect due process of the law, and it should show Nigerians this by immediately complying with all valid and subsisting Orders of court made against the Federal Government. If the government seeks to fight corruption, then due process ought to be followed, and a lack of due process indicates an abuse of power and sets a very dangerous precedent.

The President should not be seen to be acting above the law and fostering the culture of impunity. The suspension of Justice Onnoghen ridicules and reduces the integrity and high status of the third arm of government which is the Judiciary…the last hope of the common man. Where impunity reigns, abuse is commonplace and the women and children who are typically the most vulnerable in society suffer most.

FIDA Nigeria therefore calls for the immediate withdrawal of the suspension of the Hon. Justice Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in order to avoid further crippling the independence and effectiveness of the Judiciary. President Buhari not only risks the credibility of the upcoming general elections in Nigeria, but also demeans the legal profession and risks damaging the reputation of Nigeria in the international community.

Signed

Rhoda Prevail Tyoden

Country Vice President\National President

Eliana Martins

National Publicity Secretary

Source: Facebook

I have not resigned, says suspended CJN Onnoghen

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday, has debunked the rumour gaining traction online on Monday that he has resigned.

Onnoghen, whom President Muhammadu Buhari replaced with the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Mohammed, as Acting CJN, debunked the rumour in a statement on Monday.

The statement was signed by his media aide, Awassam Bassey, who described the CJN’s rumoured resignation as “fake news circulated by mischief makers.”

“Mischief makers are still circulating this fake news. Once again, no truth in it whatsoever. The Hon CJN, Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has not resigned,” Bassey said.

The rumour came less than 24 hours to the emergency meeting summoned by the National Judicial Council to deliberate on Onnoghen’s suspension and Muhammad’s emergence as the Acting CJN.

CHIEF JUSTICE OF  NIGERIA, JUSTICE WALTER ONNOGHEN

The Buhari administration has since Friday, come under scathing and widespread criticism locally and from the international community for being ill-timed, coming in the eve of the imminent general elections.

Source: punchng.com

Onnoghen: Details of NEC meeting emerges as NBA embarks on boycott of courts

The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has announced plans to embark on a two-day boycott of courts following the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

The decision was taken after the just concluded NEC meeting over controversies surrounding suspension of Onnoghen.

The statement read: “The NBA-NEC Emergency meeting which was held today, the 28th of January 2019, ended with some resolutions.

“It was held that lawyers all over Nigeria boycott all courts in the land for two days starting from the 29th day of January, 2019.”

SUMMARY OF RESOLUTIONS OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) MEETING HELD ON MONDAY, 28TH JANUARY 2019 AT THE NBA AUDITORIUM, NBA HOUSE, ABUJA.

  1. NBA Condemns in strong terms the Unconstitutional Suspension of the CJN.
  2. NEC resolved that Members should boycott all Courts for the next 2 days starting from tomorrow the 29th to 31st of January, 2019.
  3. NEC Ratified the Constitution of a 3 Man Committee (which may be expanded) made up of Former Presidents Olanikpeku, A. B. Mahmood and President Paul Usoro to interface on the issue.
  4. NEC adopted and ratified all actions and statements earlier issued by the President on the Prosecution and Suspension of the CJN.

Source: Daily Post.