Condemnations Trail FG’s Decision to Try CJN over Assets Declaration

*South South people are no slaves -EK Clark

*It’s an attempt to shut up the Region – Group

*South South Govs meet today.

Condemnations have continued to trail the Federal Government’s decision to arraign the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday, January 13.

The leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and South South Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, in his reaction said the forum will resist any form of harassment of Justice Walter Onnoghen on assets declaration basis.

 According to a telephone coversation with the elder statesman, Clark declared; “The news of the arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct tribunal (CCT) on Monday has come to us as a shock because there is nothing to show that this man has not been doing his job properly.

“There is nothing to show that he is corrupt; simply because they want to rig this election, they want to remove him to put somebody who will do their bidding after the election; otherwise, there is no basis for harassing the judiciary,” 

Chief Clark said the minority people are being treated as slaves of the country saying, “Yesterday, it was the Acting Director General of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), Matthew Seyeifa who was removed and somebody who was retired was appointed to take his place.”

Re-echoing the Niger Delta regions stand to resist the arraignment of Justice Onnoghen, the former federal minister of Information and Senator of the Second Republic of Nigeria said: “We deserve some respect. So, we will resist this one, and I understand that our governors had meeting on this matter too and we will all come together.”

Also, a group, the South South Media Professionals Forum frowned at the development describing it as a further proof of it’s age long stance that the removal of former President Good luck Jonathan was a calculated attempt by the majority to silence the minority in the country.

Speaking to Penpushers online, Secretary General of the Organisation, Emmanuel Iriogbe said; “We at South South Media Professionals Forum vehemently kick against the purported arraignment on Monday of Justice Walter Onnoghen. 

“This is taking too far the injustice against the people of the South South and by extension other minority tribes in the country. It lays credence to our long held belief that the removal of former President Goodluck Jonathan was a grand conspiracy by certain elements among two of the three majority tribes to victimise  the minority in the country to shut them out from national discourse.

” We appeal to those behind this despotic move to have a re-think so as to avoid throwing the country into chaos especially with the general elections just around the corner”

Meanwhile the man in the eyes of the storm, Justice Walter Onnoghen while reacting to the development has described his non-declaration of the domiciliary accounts as a mistake.

In a statement he wrote to the CCB investigators on Friday (January 11), Justice Onnoghen also explained that the undeclared foreign currencies found in his Standard Chartered Bank were sourced from his estacodes and medical allowances, including funds from his days in private practice between 1979 and 1989.

“My Asset Declaration Form No SC N 00014 and SCN 00005 were declared on the same day 14/12/2016 because I forgot to make a declaration of my assets after the expiration of my 2005 declaration in 2009,” the CJN stated.

“Following my appointment as Acting CJN in November 2016, the need to declare my asset anew made me to realise the mistake.”

The CJN further explained that he did not include the funds in his domiciliary accounts because he believed the accounts were not opened during the period covered by the declaration.

In its reaction the National Judicial Council, a body charged with the discipline of erring judicial officers inclusive of the Chief Justice of the Federation, has said that Onnoghen will not appear before the tribunal on Monday.

“Justice Onnoghen, the CJN, Will Not Appear Before Any Tribunal Without NJC Investigation & Recommendation” An NJC Official disclosed.

Meanwhile, The South South Governors Forum has scheduled an emergency meeting for Sunday to discuss the developing move to remove Walter Onnoghen as the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN). 

In a statement signed by Fidelis Soriwei, the special adviser, media relations to the governor of Bayelsa State, the forum revealed that the security òf the Niger Delta, during and after the election; the issue of derivation; and recent development involving the chief justice of the federation would feature for deliberation at the meeting.

Expressing his opinion at the development in the Supreme Court, Dickson said while he was yet to know the full details surrounding the developments at the Supreme Court concerning the CJN, it is a grave and dangerous escalation, coming a few weeks to the general elections.

He said that the South South Governors would address a press conference after the meeting to convey the position of the zone to the Nigerian public.

Dickson said that all efforts must be on deck to prevent the subversion and desecration òf the ethos of democracy in Nigeria as nation moves nearer to the election.

Recall that the Code of Conduct Bureau has slammed a six count charge against the revered judge, who will be arraigned on Monday.

Onnoghen is from Cross River state in the south-south.

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