NBA orders lawyers to boycott all courts as Onnoghen maintains he did not resign
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has ordered every legal practitioner in the country to boycott every court in the country and refrain from offering any form of legal service, in the next two days, just as the embattled chief justice Walter onnoghen has debunked the rumour gaining traction online on Monday that he has resigned.
NBA which is the umbrella body of lawyers in the country, said the action was to protest the arbitrary suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari. President Buhari had on Friday, suspended Onnoghen and appointed the most senior jurist of the apex court, Justice Tanko Muhammad to take over the leadership of the judiciary as the Acting CJN. The President anchored his action on an ex-parte order that was issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, where Onnoghen is facing a six-count charge the Federal Government preferred against him for allegedly failing to declare his assets as prescribed by the law. Meanwhile, the NBA, which had since condemned President Buhari’s action as a coup against the judiciary and a subversion of the Nigerian constitution, took the decision for lawyers to boycott all court related activities, at the end of its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja.Onnoghen, whom President Muhammadu Buhari replaced with the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Mohammed, as Acting CJN, debunked the rumour of his purported resignation in a statement on Monday.The statement was signed by his media aide, Awassam Bassey, who described the CJN’s rumoured resignation as “fake news circulated by mischief makers.”“Mischief makers are still circulating this fake news. Once again, no truth in it whatsoever. The Hon CJN, Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has not resigned,” Bassey said.The rumour came less than 24 hours to the emergency meeting summoned by the National Judicial Council to deliberate on Onnoghen’s suspension and Muhammad’s emergence as the Acting CJN.The Buhari administration has since Friday, come under scathing and widespread criticism locally and from the international community for being ill-timed, coming in the eve of the imminent general elections.