The Southern and Middle Belt Forum (SMBF) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney-General to stop the prosecution of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen at the CCT.
The forum requested for the due process to be followed, saying that no one is above the law.
Dr Alfred Muade, the spokesman of the forum in a statement said, “We respectfully appeal to Mr President to direct the Attorney-General to stop the prosecution of the CJN at the CCT, request then to follow the due process, because no one is above the law of the land.”
The forum enjoined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to be cautious in its steps to arrest Onnoghen, saying that the government had been speaking from both sides of the mouth on the matter.
The forum observed that, “The information and statement about the siege on the neighborhood of the CJN originated from the CJN’s residence, while this body was in a meeting at Abuja.
“We could not have manufactured such a statement if the alarm was not raised from the house of the CJN. It is therefore, not fake news. This body only acted to forestall any untoward incidence of arrest or embarrassment on the person of the CIN.
“We strongly advise the EFCC not to do anything, by way of carrying out its threat of arrest and detention of former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and Mr Yinka Odumakin, on account of this statement, which has attracted denials.
“Arrests and detention of Fani-Kayode and Odumakin on account of this incident can only exacerbate the already tensed situation in the polity.
“We want to further caution that any attempt to intimidate and harass any of our members concerning this issue or in any other guise would be stoutly resisted.
“We have also been reliably informed thàt the Federal Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has directed the freezing of bank accounts of the CJN, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, vide a letter dated 14, January, 2019, titled, “Re: Request for Freezing of Bank Accounts subject to Investigation and Prosecution pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 6 of 5th July 2018, on the Preservation of Assets connected with Corruption.
“We want to state that this inglorious exercise of freezing of accounts belonging to the CJN when the matter pertaining thereto, being embarked upon by the Hon. Attorney-General is completely unnecessary, and a further deliberate attempt to harass and embarrass the high office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“The President, according to Vice President Osinbajo, could not have done anything to stop the prosecution of the CJN, by the Federal Attorney-General, who did not, as the Chief Legal Adviser to the government, inform the president of the action he was going to take against the CJN.
“This is condemnable, considering the status of the CJN, who is the head of the third arm of government.
“Mr. Vice President went on to defend the ominous silence of Mr. President on the trial of the CJN, under the guise of the need for non-interference in the operations of anti-graft institutions in the discharge of their duties.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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