The Arewa Consultative Forum has thrown it’s weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari on the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The northern body’s position was contained in a communique signed by its Secretary-General, Mr Anthony Sani, after a meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday.
The ACF’s communique read, “The ACF notes that the allegations against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, are that he failed to comply with the expressed provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act, to wit, failure to declare his assets on assumption of office as Justice of the Supreme Court and as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“That when he was made to declare his assets as demanded by law, he failed to declare all of them.
“That Hon. Justice Onnoghen was said to have told investigators that the reason for his not declaring those assets was forgetfulness.
“Following the discovery of these infractions, the Code of Conduct Bureau, swiftly referred the matter to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which made an order for the temporary suspension of the CJN in the interest of natural justice. However, this action by the CCT has provoked intense controversy.
“And yet, from a reading of all the facts of the matter, the ACF cannot defend the position taken by the Hon. Justice Onnoghen, especially his insistence that he should first be tried by the National Judicial Council, of which he is Chairman. To do so would have allowed him to seat in judgement over his own case.”
It added that “The ACF deeply regrets the conduct of Justice Onnoghen, particularly his refusal to step aside and allow due process of the law to take its course. He has created the impression that his personal interests in this matter supersede that of the judiciary and the nation.”
The forum, however, urged law enforcement agencies to strive to carry out their professional duties in a manner that could not give room to partisanship.