The South South governors on Sunday condemned what they decried as “assault” on the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, telling him to ignore the court summons.
The governors noted that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT was a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state, including the National Assembly and the judiciary
They spoke through a communique after an emergency meeting of the governors of the states of the South South geopolitical zone, held at the Bayelsa State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja on Sunday.
It was signed by Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, Prof. Ben Ayade, Cross River State, Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State and Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, of Delta State.
The meeting, called at the instance of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, who is also Chairman of the South South Governors Forum, was attended by the Governors of Cross River, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta states.
The meeting deliberated on the recent happenings at the Supreme Court involving the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen and resolved that the action against him constitutes a setback to the gains of the nation’s democratic experience of 20 years.
The communique reads, “We note that under Section 158(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Judicial Council, has ample powers to deal exhaustively with matters pertaining to allegations of misconduct and discipline of Judicial officers.
“Specifically, the NJC has the powers and clear procedures for investigating allegations, and recommending appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures against judicial officials as a matter of first instance before any further steps.
“The judicial pronouncements in the cases of FGN Vs Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court (January 9, 2018) and Justice Ngajinwa Vs FGN 2017 at the CCT have given validation to the express provisions of the constitution on this issue.
“We believe that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has a constitutional responsibility and huge moral obligation to defend our democracy.
“Therefore, we consider this step, which is directly aimed at humiliating the nation’s highest judicial officer and a prominent son of the region, as totally unacceptable as it is reflective of the South South story of endless marginalization and intimidation.”-Punch