…says Buhari still in shock over CJN’s planned trial
The Special Adviser to the President on Politics, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said last night that President Muhammadu Buhari did not ask the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to resign.
Ojudu made the clarification in a comment posted on CACOL WhatsApp group.
It was the first reaction by a government official to the controversy generated by the filing of charges against Justice Onnoghen.
He said: “Buhari never at any time demanded CJ’s resignation. I challenge anyone who says so to cite the pronouncement, the press statement or quote any public official who made such announcement.”
According to close sources, the Presidency was not in support of the planned trial of Justice Onnoghen for alleged failure to declare his assets.
Buhari, according to well-placed Presidency sources, was shocked about the development.
Sources said the planned trial may have been hatched by fifth columnists in the corridors of power to embarrass the Presidency and create misunderstanding between the judiciary and the federal government.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity last night, official government sources explained that the only impact such an action would generate at this time is distasteful.
“Let me tell you point blank Mr. President is not aware and was shocked at the development. It is not going to fly,” a top government official said.
Another official said: “whatever may be the merits of the case being put against the CJN, it is not advisable at this time. So it is not about the rightness of the planned action.”
Asked whether the trial would go ahead, the source said: “what is certain right now is that this came as a shock to the Presidency and does not enjoy approval of any kind. You can figure out the rest.”
When contacted last night over the matter, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said that he had not been briefed on the matter.