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NBA, CSOs protest over Onnoghen’s suspension, call for new CJN’s removal

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NIGERIAN Bar Association, Civil Society Organisation and some interest groups are currently leading a protest in Abuja over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

The protest started at the premises of the  Nigerian Bar Association Secretariat in Abuja on Monday morning,  Punch reported.

Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday over an accusation of false declaration case pending in the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Buhari had replaced him with Tanko Mohammed to be the new CJN, pending the determination of the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Onnoghen’s case. Onnoghen was accused of breaching the Code of Conduct by not declaring some of his bank accounts which, according to the federal government, contains huge amounts of money in both local and foreign currencies.

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The interest groups include National Interest Defenders and Lawyers in Defense of Democracy.  Placards and banners bearing messages of support for the suspended Chief Justice Onnoghen were displayed by the protesters.

Lawyers in Defence of Democracy group’s banner reads: “Tanko Mohammed stop parading yourself as CJN; on  section 292  we stand.”

The section 292 of the Nigerian constitution quoted by the interest group addresses the issue of removal from office of a judicial officer. This section states that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is to be removed from office “by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.

Another banner has read that the All Progressives Party and its members are the “brain behind Onnoghen trial.”

Since the suspension of Onnoghen on Friday, several groups have condemned the action, saying it overrides Nigeria’s constitution. The European Union, United States of America, Nigeria Bar Association and Civil Society Organisations were some of the national and international groups that have criticised Onnoghen’s suspension.

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