From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
As members of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations took to the streets and Kaduna Government House yesterday morning, asking the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen to resign, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai has described the embattled CJN as a shameless man.
Governor El-Rufai who received the protesters’ solidarity letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the suspension of the Chief Judge, said with just over 20 years in public service, Justice Onnoghen possibly has more money than Aliko Dangote, the richest African.
El-Rufai said, even Dangote cannot forget one million dollars in his bank account, not to talk of a public servant.
He stated categorically that, Justice Onnoghen’s suspension was in order saying that, “The case of Justice Onnoghen is the case in which somebody who has worked in government for past twenty years suddenly has Millions of Dollars in his account, he has admitted but says he has forgotten about them, which means he has more money than Aliko Dangote because I do not think Dangote will forget $1 million in his account.
“I want to express happiness to all of you for coming together to convey this very clear statement from the people of Kaduna State that in Kaduna we do not support corruption, in Kaduna we do not support injustice, in Kaduna State we are 100% behind the integrity of our president. I can assure you that the message you have given to me will be delivered to the president today
“The case with Justice Onnoghen is a very sad one. Othman Dan Fodio, the founder of the Sokoto caliphate wrote that the worst form of corruption you can find in any public service is judicial corruption. This is because when the president is corrupt or the governor is corrupt, it is to the judge that ordinary people can take their case to. When the judge himself is corrupt, it is the highest form of corruption and must never be condoned.
“The president did the right thing by asking him to step aside pending investigation. It is the proper thing to do. It is what is done in every organised and civilised society.
“Unfortunately, some people in Nigeria are trying to make white black and black, white. They are using technicalities to delay bringing this man to Justice. Mr. President did not remove Onnoghen from office. He said in honour of the judiciary, he should step aside so that the charges against him can be investigated and prosecuted.
“But the man is shameless he does not want to go but it is time for Nigerians to come all out and tell him he must go. Our judiciary must be clean. Our judiciary must consist of judges who cannot be bought,” he said.
Leaders of the civil society organisations, Comrade Zubairu Muktar and Arc Abubakar R Abubakar said, “As well-meaning and focused Nigerians interested in the progress of our dear country, we would like to state our continuous support for the anti-corruption war of this administration and commend President Muhammadu Buhari for taking this decisive step to restore the lost glory of our judiciary by rejuvenating our nascent democracy. It’s indeed a step very timely and commendable.
“As a coalition of more than one hundred and fifty CSOs, we wish to convey to our President that we will continue to stand firm, straight and tall with him as he continues to purge out corruption embedded in the Nigerian system which has become a hindrance to the economic, political and social development of our dear nation.
“We equally commend President Buhari for his continuous pledge of free, fair and credible elections. We wish him good health, wisdom and long life to re-engineer the country towards an enviable direction,” they said.