TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -The president on Friday said he had suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen who has been asked to appear before a tribunal over allegations of breaching asset-declaration rules.
Onnoghen has not responded to the charges and his lawyers say the tribunal does not have the authority to try him.
Buhari, who was a military ruler in the 1980s and voted into office in 2015, is seeking a fresh term in the upcoming election. At stake is control of Africa’s top crude oil producer and one of the continent’s biggest economies.
Nigeria’s judiciary has helped resolve electoral disputes after past votes, some of which have been marred by violence and vote rigging. The chief justice could preside over a disputed election result.
“In the first instance, we are suspending our campaign for 72 hours. It is our hope that President Buhari will listen to the voice of all lovers of democracy the world over and restore democracy in Nigeria immediately and without qualifications,” the PDP said in a statement.
Buhari on Friday said a court order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which is looking into the asset declaration allegations, directed him to suspend the judge.
“We call on all well meaning Nigerians to rise in defense of democracy and save our nation from this imminent slide into tyranny,” the PDP said in its statement.
The opposition party, which was in power from the start of civilian rule in 1999 until Buhari’s 2015 election victory with his All Progressives Congress (APC) party, said the judge’s suspension was a “brazen assault on the constitution”.
The APC said the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was set to lose the poll, scheduled to take place on Feb. 16, and its campaign suspension was part of an attempt to provide an “excuse” after it has been defeated.