Judiciary under threat, says Justice Onnoghen
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday declared that the nation’s judiciary is under threat.
Justice Onnoghen, who spoke yesterday at a thanksgiving service held at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Abuja Diocese, called on Nigerians to petition any judicial officer involved in corruption or unprofessional conduct in any part of the country, to the National Judicial Council which he heads.
While thanking God for seeing him through his delayed emergence as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, he called on Nigerians to pray for the survival of the Judiciary.
The CJN in a reaction to a publication in one of the national dailies, where Senator Uche Ekwunife who represented Anambra Central in the Senate, allegedly accused the judiciary of robbing her of her mandate, lamented that Judicial officers in the country today are being castigated and accused of corrupt practices by agents of the federal government and politicians without giving them an opportunity to be heard.
In a statement later signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Awassam Bassey, the CJN urged Nigerians to learn to take advantage of institutions that have been established to handle allegations of corruption and unprofessional conducts by judicial officers, including cases judicial fraud, which the Senator cited as the reason for loss of her mandate in the law court.
Justice Onnoghen also advised against individuals dragging the name of the judiciary in the mud through unsubstantiated allegations in the mass media, and urged such individuals to employ well-established institutions and avenues to petition any judicial officer who engages in unprofessional conduct.
In the interest of the generality of Nigerians and the on-going war against corruption, the CJN called on Senator Ekwunife to go ahead and petition the judges she accused of corruption and unprofessional conduct, while assuring anyone with evidence against any corrupt judicial officer to forward a petition to NJI for proper investigation and prosecution.
Justice Onnoghen who was accompanied to the thanksgiving service by his family members, his brother Justices of the Supreme Court, past governors and other senior members of the legal profession, thanked God for seeing him to the peak of his career.