ABA urges free, credible polls, faults Onnoghen’s suspension

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The American Bar Association (ABA) has expressed concerns over the recent suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, and similar events that could undermine the rule of law in the country.

A statement by ABA President, Bob Carlson, entitled, “Re: Suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria,” a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian described President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of Onnoghen as “troubling.”

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According to the ABA, “the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers are essential to ensuring Nigeria’s adherence to the rule of law. The basic precept of checks and balances requires that an action with such monumental consequences be accomplished strictly and unambiguously in accordance with the processes and procedures of the governing law. Failure to observe the basic precepts of checks and balances could raise questions about the legitimacy of the outcome of the ongoing election.”

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Also, the New York City Bar Association in a statement on Onnoghen’s suspension signed by its President Roger Juan Maldonado, African Affairs Committee, Chair Victoria L. Safran and Task Force on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges, Chair William A. Wilson III, said it was “gravely concerned by the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen by Buhari.”

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