Onnoghen reveals why Buhari sacked him as CJN before 2019 elections
A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (retd.), has revealed for the first time why he was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2019 general elections.
Onnoghen said the genesis of his unceremonious removal from office started when rumours from the Executive started flying around that he held a meeting with former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, prior to the 2019 general elections.
He disclosed this on Wednesday, during the public presentation of a book titled, ‘Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009, Practice, Procedure, Forms, and Precedents’, written by a renowned legal practitioner, Chief Ogwu James Onoja (SAN) in Abuja.
The ex-CJN said, “Prior to my suspension, I was confronted with no allegation. There were rumours that I met with Atiku in Dubai. As I am talking here today, I have never met Atiku one on one in my life. As if that was not enough, I was also accused of setting free, high-profile criminals, whereas I ceased to be a High Court Judge as far back as 1978.
“In the Supreme Court, I did not sit alone. we sit in a panel. In all these rumours and outright accusations, I was not given an opportunity to defend myself.
“Let me make it clear that the office of the CJN was not for Onnoghen but for all Nigerians who had sworn to guide and protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“To say the least, the period of my ordeal was the darkest era in the history of the Nigerian judiciary.
“As I have severally, Judicial officers must be courageous. And I want to beg all serving judicial officers not to be discouraged by what happened to me in the hand of the executive arm of the government.
“Emerging Nigerian Judges should not go the direction of injustice because, without courageous judges and justice, Nigeria is doomed.
“Here, let me sound this note of warning that the appointment of judicial officers must never be allowed to be politicized, otherwise, democracy and democratic governance will be dead.
“During my tenure, the problem of Nigeria was not the Nigerian judiciary, but those who had no regard for the rule of law. We must therefore be committed to the rule of law and dispense justice without fear or favour. Truth stands, crush it, it will stand because it is truth.”
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