Onnoghen: Buhari must ensure probe of entire judiciary – SANs

Onnoghen: Buhari must ensure probe of entire judiciary – SANs

The Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, under the aegis of Justice Reform Project, JRP, on Tuesday, April 16 implored President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure a sweep of the judiciary by probing other judges connected to any corruption case.

The coalition explained that the resignation of Justice Walter Onnoghen should not be the end of the corruption allegations levelled against him.

According to them, given the gravity of the allegations against Onnoghen and his admission, the law should be made to take its course to show that it respects no one.

The body also called on the president to ensure all judges undergo such scrutiny in a bid to fish out the ones living above their legitimate means.

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In a statement on Tuesday, JRP, which consists of about 20 SANs, said it was important for Buhari to take this step in order to convince Nigerians that Onnoghen’s trial was not a politically-motivated witch-hunt and had no ethnic colouration.

The SANs said the details of the allegations of financial mismanagement which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) levelled against Onnoghen in the petition submitted to the National Judicial Council “raised significant questions about the financial practices of the Nigerian judiciary and the various heads of courts.”

The statement continues, “Beyond Honourable Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, the JRP believes the revelations that have been made in the course of this affair necessitate that urgent steps be taken to identify and sanction all other Nigerian judicial officers who are found to possess inexplicable wealth that cannot be reconciled with their legitimate income or their asset declarations, two of the allegations made against Justice Onnoghen.

“These steps are necessary for a variety of reasons. First, to ensure public confidence in the judiciary and disabuse the notion that all judicial officers in Nigeria are corrupt and that justice is for sale.

“Second, to disabuse the notion that Justice W.S. N. Onnoghen’s travails are a mere witch-hunt motivated by ethnic and political interests rather than the result of a genuine concern for sanitising and reforming the Nigerian judiciary.

“Third, to eliminate the suspicion that the executive arm of government is using the information it has access to, by virtue of its control over the apparatus of the state, to take selective action only against those judicial officers that fail to do its bidding.”

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