Mike Ozekhome, human rights lawyer, says Walter Onnoghen resigned as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) because he knew his fate had been pre-determined by the cabal.
Onnoghen resigned with immediate effect Thursday, a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended that he be compulsorily retired.
In a piece Ozekhome wrote on the travails of the former CJN, the senior lawyer said Onnoghen was a victim of high political games.
“I knew it would come sooner than later. When Justice Walter Onnoghen’s travails started in January, I predicted that the cabal was out to rubbish him. They desired to bespatter him with the paintbrush of shame, odium and obloquy in such a way as to make him visibly unfit for the position of the CJN. They went after his jugular, using the CCB/CCT,” Ozekhome said.
“The CCT was unrelenting: it discarded its earlier precedents; ignored court rulings barring it from trying Onnoghen. It was the case of the falcon not hearing the falconer.
“The Court of Appeal became complicit. It refused to deliver judgments in Onnoghen’s cases argued before it over six weeks ago. Nigerians watched Onnoghen being mob-lynched. Onnoghen was tried in the media, criminalized, humiliated.
“So, Onnoghen, faced with the reality of the situation, knew that his faith had been pre-determined by the cabal, signed, sealed and delivered.”
Ozekhome also accused the NJC of jumping into conclusion over the case, saying the council acted on unproven allegations and that any attempt to harass and humiliate the judiciary is setting a stage for bidding democracy farewell.
“Otherwise, how can NJC hold that it decided not to delve into the allegations, relating to assets declaration leveled against Onnoghen because they were subjudice, yet convicted him on the petitions written by EFCC and others, when the said petitions remained in the realm of mere unproven allegations?” he asked.