The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Cross River State on Monday withdrew all services in protest against what they described as the unconstitutional attempt by the executive arm of the Federal Government to intimidate, coerce, and desecrate the judiciary through the proposed arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Reading a communiqué issued and signed by the three Branches that make up the NBA in the state, at the end of a joint Emergency General Meeting held at the State Judiciary Headquarters, High Court Complex in Calabar, the Chairman of the Calabar Branch, Dr. Emmanuel Idaka, said they will resist any attempt by the Federal government to arraign the CJN.
According to the six-point Communiqué, the Cross River State branch of NBA was wholly in support of and adopted the position of Association on the issue as contained in the statement issued and signed by the President, Paul Usoro.
“We condemn in its entirety the unlawful manner in which the Federal Government and its agencies have assaulted, ridiculed and degraded the revered office of the Chief Justice Nigeria and indeed the entire Judiciary in the country by orchestrated media trial of the CJN.
“Whilst not condoning corruption in all its ramifications, we insist that, the rule of law must be followed by the Federal Government of Nigeria in its avowed fight against corruption, especially as it has to do with the proposed arraignment of the CJN or any other Judicial officer in the Federal Republic of Nigeria as laid down in its locus classsicus of Nganjiwa vs FRN(2017)LPELR-43391(CA), where the Court of Appeal made it absolutely clear that any misconduct attached to the office and function of a judicial officer must first be reported to and handled by the National Judicial Council (NJC) pursuant to the relevant provisions of the law.
“We are aware that all these attempts are intended to precipitate the unlawful removal from office of the CJN which position they originally did not want him to occupy. It is pertinent to draw the attention of the initiators of this bizarre transaction to the fact that, the removal of the CJN is regulated by the mandatory provisions of section 292(1) (a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(As amended) which can only be effected by the President of the FRN acting on an address supported by two thirds majority of the Senate.
“Democracy strives under the rule of law. The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, having come under a constitutional democracy and not being a military dictatorship, must in all its dealings with the citizens of Nigeria and other Arms of the Government, abide by the Rule of Law,” they stated.