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Onnoghen: Nigeria is now a full-blown dictatorship, says Dogara

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara

The Speaker of the Nigeria House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara in his reaction to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has said the country is now a full-blown dictatorship.

He said it was not surprising as there has been a “gradual but progressive erosion of democratic values” by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“With the unconstitutional suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the world has been served with notice that Nigeria is now a full-blown dictatorship,” Dogara said in a statement.

“This did not come as a rude shock except to those that have been blind to the gradual but progressive erosion of democratic values in the polity as President Buhari’s Government has never hidden its disdain for the rule of law.”

“We have watched in disbelief as the Government recklessly deploys institutional prerogatives; routinely flouts the rule of law; subverts and assaults democratic Institutions; refuses to accept opponents as legitimate; suppresses citizens civil liberties (especially those of opponents) and trample underfoot the media. In short, the Government’s tyrannical and authoritarian credentials are loathsomely legendary.”

Buhari in his suspension of the CJN on Friday cited an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal to suspend the Onnoghen pending the determination of the case as the reason for his action.

However, the suspension of the CJN has caused a uproar with many calling on the reversal of the unconstitutional act.

“No provision in Sections 157 and 292 of the 1999 Constitution as amended supports the President in purporting to suspend the CJN or swearing in an acting CJN.  The whole idea of a limited government is that the President’s powers are limited by law and it is ultra vires his powers to act in the absence of explicit legislative authorization. That is representative democracy at its best which our 1999 Constitution as amended guarantees,” Dogara said.

“The awfully crude annexation of the judiciary by the President in violation of his oath of office and the Constitution cannot be for any other reason except, as alleged by so many, to prepare the judiciary ahead of time for the purpose of conferring some aura of legitimacy to the contraption that the 2019 general elections may after all become.

“I, therefore, call on the President to remember that he has no better legacy to bequeath other than a good name: which cannot be achieved without honour, character, and integrity. Honour and integrity demand that he upholds his oath of office by reversing this assault on our Constitution and following the manifestly clear and unambiguous constitutional procedure for the removal of the CJN if he must be removed.”

The leader of the green chamber urged Nigerians and the international community to “rise to the occasion and demand of this Government and the President to halt the march to anarchy and bedlam: which dictatorship promotes.”

“Despotism can only prosper in Nigeria if good men and women do nothing.

“I also call on all lovers of freedom and democracy all over the world to The world has experience in this and it must not allow this unmitigated disaster on Nigeria before it acts to restore sanity.”

“We must not bow our knees to dictatorship: not now, not ever again.”


In this article:
CJNWalter Onnoghen
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