Onnoghen: UN top official says Buhari breached international protocol
Diego Garcia-Sayan, a United Nations judicial expert has said the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari broke international rules when he recently suspended the country’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen.
Onnoghen was suspended barely one month to the conduct of the country’s presidential election. The Judiciary plays critical roles in elections process in Nigeria.
Opposition parties said the suspension of Onnoghen and his immediate replacement with Justice Tanko was an afront on the democracy process. International bodies like the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed reservations over the Onnoghen’s suspension.
But Nigerian government said the bodies were only meddling in Nigeria’s internal sovereignty.
President Buhari suspended Walter Onnoghen last month over allegations that the judge had failed to declare his assets.
The UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayan, said such a decision should be taken by an independent judicial council or a court.
He said dismissing judges without following legal procedures was incompatible with the independence of the judiciary.
The suspension of the chief justice has drawn international criticism.
As Nigeria’s top judge he could play a key role in any disputes that arise from this weekend’s elections.