Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has come under fire from the country’s opposition parties for suspending the country’s Chief Justice over allegations that he breached asset declaration rules.
Buhari sacked Walter Onnoghen on Friday barely weeks before the West African economic giant holds elections on February 16 in which the 76-year-old leader is seeking re-election.
“With the directive of the code of conduct tribunal, accordingly, I hereby suspend Honourable Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria until the final determination of the case against him,” said Buhari.
However, Onnoghen is yet to formally respond to the charges and his lawyers have said the tribunal does not have the authority to try him.
Nigeria’s Judiciary has played a crucial role in resolving past electoral disputes, some of which have been marred by violence and vote rigging.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s former vice-president and opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar issued a scathing statement against Buhari, describing the suspension as an act of dictatorship. He also said the move was geared towards affecting the outcome of the presidential elections.