International bodies have raised concern over the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari suspending the Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen on Friday 25th January 2019. Buhari accused him of preventing the war against corruption by freeing graft suspects before his court.
EU, United State and Britain have questioned the action of the president, the timing and manner of the action, coming just weeks before presidential and legislative elections set for February 16. Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen would have ruled on any dispute in the elections.
The EU election observation mission said “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 US embassy also said it was “deeply concerned” at the decision to replace Onnoghen “without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections”.
The British High Commission also expressed “serious concern over the suspension”.
“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections”.