- Chief Justice of Nigeria (NJC), Walter Onnoghen, spoke when he went on a 'thank you' visit to President Buhari
- The CJN, who almost lost the chance to serve the country, also denied the existence of a judicial gang frustrating the president's fight against corruption
- Onnoghen said he remains committed to his job, the fight against corruption and service to Nigeria
Chief Justice of Nigeria (NJC), Mr Walter Onnoghen, has spoken about President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption saying it not losing steam.
NAIJ.com reports that after some courts ruled on corruption cases before them as brought by agencies of the government, many Nigerians reacted with claims that the president had lost the battle.
Vanguard reports that while speaking with journalists after a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Onnoghen said the government could appeal the cases it had lost.
Onnoghen said: “You take that as losing steam? If there was steam, then it wouldn’t have been without the participation of the Judiciary. Good. So, if there is losing of steam, you should not equally relate it only to the judiciary.
“The fight against corruption has lost no steam. It is not correct. Now, you should know one thing: two people will always have a quarrel. They may be three or four or one hundred.
“All the parties to that quarrel will always have different stories to tell. By the way our system is fashioned and designed and operated, when you go to a court of law, you cannot have a drawn game.
“There must be a winner and there must be a loser. In our system, a loser has the chance of appealing to the highest court eventually. So, you cannot say because the government or any agency has lost a case in the high court, you have lost a case and the fight is losing steam.
“You should realize that there is a constitution in place and under the constitution, there is a rule of law. So, every system under a constitutional arrangement operated under the rule of law must have these things as checks and balances to protect everyone. It is for everyone.
“I have told you that if you are not satisfied, the system is fashioned and designed in such a way that if you lose in the Magistrate court and you are not satisfied; because someone must win and another must lose; so the loser has the chance of testing the decision on appeal. When it comes to the judiciary, don’t be judgmental. When you are judgmental, you become prejudice.”
He also denied that there was a judicial gang trying to frustrate the president’s fight against corruption.
“I am not going to speculate. I am Lawyer and judicial officer. I operate on facts and the law. So, I can’t answer that question because I am not on everybody’s mind.
“You are free to think whatever you want to think but I think you should be guided by facts and the law when it comes to judicial performance or discharge of judicial responsibilities,” he said.
Onnoghen said he was at the Presidential Villa to welcome President Buhari back from his medical vacation in London and to thank him for the confidence he has in him to lead the judiciary.
“I am here to welcome him back home. I hadn’t had the opportunity of doing so since his return from his medical leave. That’s because I had some international engagements.
“By the time appointment was due, I was out of the country attending all commonwealth law conference in Australia.
“I came back and couldn’t get another appointment before going to attend African Chief Justices Conference in Katum where we met to fashion out a way forward for African judiciary particularly, the establishment of African court of justice. So, I came back last week Wednesday.
“Fortunately, today happens to be the day I have the opportunity to see Mr President and welcome him back home and then thank also him for the confidence repose in me to head the judiciary of this great nation.
“And as I have always said, I am committed to that job and to the good of this nation under the rule of law,” the CJN said adding: “It didn’t come up for discussion but you already know my stand on that and he does also. Personally, I am committed to that fight and it remains so. I remain resolute in that commitment.”
Meanwhile, watch how former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, was arraigned recently: