In what appears to be regional colouration, five out of the six governors of the South-South Governors Forum have asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, not to honour the summons from the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The Bureau had asked the CJN who is a native from one of the Nigeria’s South South, to appear before the Code of Conduct tribunal for alleged non-declaration of assets but the governors from the region have asked the CJN not to appear before a constitutional court.
The governors made the call after an emergency meeting in Abuja on Sunday.
“We call on the CJN to ignore this so-called Court summon from the CCB and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters,” the governors said in a communique issued after the meeting.
“While we are not opposed to a genuine fight against corruption, such and action must always be anchored on the rule of law.”
The meeting was attended by the governors of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers with Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State who is a member of the All Progressives Congress absent.
Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, who is the Chairman of the forum had summoned the emergency meeting on Saturday after the CCT announced that the CCB had filed six charges against the CJN with the trial scheduled to start on Monday.
In the communique, which was read by Governor Dickson after the meeting, the governors said the move by the CCB was unacceptable.
They argued that the legal procedures for investigating allegations of misconduct against judicial officials were not followed in that matter and accused the executive of targetting other arms of government.
The governors also blasted the Muhammadu Buhari administration for its treatment of the South-South.
“We note that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state on institutions of state including the National Assembly and judiciary,” they said.
To them, the move is reflective “of the South-South story of endless marginalization and intimidation”.
“The unceremonious removal of former Acting Director General of the Department of State Service, Mathew Seiyefa and his replacement is still very fresh,” they added.
“We not that that unfortunate action against the CJN further reinforces the perception that the Buhari administration has no regard for the sentiments of Nigerians, in particular, the people of Niger Delta, and the rule of law.”
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