Opposition political parties have described President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as a coup against the judiciary.
In a statement in Abuja, the first national spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Imo Ugochinyere, said Buhari had, by his action, overthrown constitutional order.
He therefore called on the Senate to begin the process of removing the President from office.
The statement read, “Buhari has finally overthrown constitutional governance. This factionalisation of the judiciary will not stand.
“As far as the law of the land is concerned, Onnoghen remains the CJN. We will not recognise any other person who may be occupying that office illegally.
“Justice Tanko Muhammed is a usurper. The NJC must sack him. Lawyers must ignore him as long as he remains on that seat.
“Onnoghen’s illegal removal was aimed at stopping the swearing-in of members of the 2019 general election petition tribunal.
“We have been vindicated on our earlier alarm that Buhari wants to appoint pro-APC CJN to help use the judiciary to affirm APC candidates in the 2019 pre- and post- election litigation.
“We hereby call on lawyers, judges and judicial staffs to down tool immediately. This is the last battle and it must be won.
“The NBA should immediately call out all lawyers. All courts must be shut now while nationwide protest against this impunity should also commence.
“The CJN must remain in office and disregard this announcement as the President has no power to suspend him.
“The Senate should reconvene now and start impeachment process against the President for acting against the provision of the Constitution he swore to uphold.
“Buhari has shown with this development that he is the most cruel and barbaric President Nigeria ever had.
“A man who rode to power on the basis of respect for the rule law and fundamental principles of democracy has chosen to play to the gallery of dictatorship to right elections. Let see how it goes.
“But we know that this is going to be the beginning of democracy in Nigeria. The democratic institutions will fight back. Trust me it is the beginning of democracy in Nigeria. Out of adversity comes strength.”