A group under the aegis of Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), on Tuesday, says the action of selected South-South governors, asking the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to shun the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is treasonable.
CHRICED Executive Director, Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, disclosed this during a World Press Conference held in Abuja.
About five of the South-South governors on Sunday held a closed-door meeting to kick against the prosecution of the CJN over alleged non-disclosure of assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
The state administrators allegedly prevailed on Onnoghen to ignore the Monday hearing held in Abuja.
The case was adjourned to 22nd January 2019 after the CCT Judge Danladi Umar, listened to arguments of the defence counsel, Wole Olanipeku and Aliyu Umar, counsel of the Federal Government.
But Zikirullahi argued that the governors had dishonoured the same constitution they vowed to preserve, protect and uphold.
“I think what the south-south governors did is treasonable, if you ask me because these are governors that sworn to defend the constitution, they sworn an oath to uphold, protect and preserve the constitution of Nigeria.”
According to Zikirullahi, the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido, was in the same situation when he was removed as the CBN governor despite the process that ushered his removal.
He added that Justice Ayo Salami was also removed from the bench, thus plan to remove the CJN was not new.
“We never see the south-west and northern governors come together to issue a statement to threaten the stability of the nation. They are contesting the election and they do that under the constitution of the country and this is the constitution being serially breached by some highly placed officers.…for us, we don’t subscribe to that and I think they need to be thought lesson through this election,” said Zikirullahi.
He emphasised that the merit of the petitioner should not be discarded and as such the petitioner is a citizen of the country and the claims were contained in the provisions of the nation’s constitution. He queried if arguments of the petition were true or false stressing that those should be the logic for the actions.
“Lawyers have always looked for a way to protect one of their own. Whether good or bad, they are always there. So the merit, irrespective of the concern we have must not be dismissed. We are not talking of a magistrate, high court judge but we are talking of a Supreme Court judge who is even the chief justice of Nigeria.
“I think it is high time we played down sentiments and allow merits to take centre stage,” he stated.
Asked to react on the timing of the prosecution, he argued that the petitioner, who was alleged to be a loyalist of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has a right to petition a fellow citizen that has breached the law.
The governors at the Sunday meeting were Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Ben Ayade of Cross River and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom.