The United States Government has shunned the choice of President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The US Embassy in Nigeria said in an explanation that the choice of the official arm of government to suspend the leader of another arm of government without plan of action to the National Assembly was controversial.
The US which had a week ago warned to put a visa prohibition on all people who control the electoral procedure, challenged the time of the suspension of the CJN.
The US said the dismissal of Onnoghen “undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.”
The announcement read, “The Embassy of the United States is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.”
“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.”
“We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria. Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.”