US sends strong message to Nigeria over unconstitutional removal of CJN
* Warns of dire consequences
* Casts doubt over credibility of polls
By Steve Oko
The United States of America has in very strong terms, condemned the unilateral suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Waltar Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
US said the action if unreversed, could negatively affect the credibility of the forthcoming polls.
The US Embassy in Abuja which issued a statement over the development said the avalanche of nationwide criticisms trailing the action showed it was suspicious.
Bellow is a full text of the press statement :
￼”Seal_usdeptofstateUnited States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, Public Affairs Section
“Plot 1075, Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja
“Telephone: 09-461-4000. Website at http://ng.usembassy.gov
“PRESS RELEASE January 26, 2019
For Immediate Release PR-003/2019
“Statement on the Suspension and Replacement of the Chief Justice
“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.”
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