The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) says it has uncovered alleged plot by the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) govt to “harm” the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen”.
Imo Ugochinyere, CUPP spokesman, stated this on Wednesday in a statement which contained a letter by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, directing the freezing or Onnoghen’s accounts.
DAILY POST reports that the accounts are the same contained in a petition against the CJN by a group, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI).
The group said its petition, dated January 7, 2019, became necessary, “bearing in mind the imminence of the 2019 General Elections and the overwhelming roles of the Judicial Arm both before and after”.
ARDI said Onnoghen “is the owner of sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as 10th August 2016 which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials”.
ARDI alleged that prior to 2016, Onnoghen appeared “to have suppressed or otherwise concealed the existence of these multiple domiciliary accounts owned by him, as well as the substantial cash balances in them”.
Account balances listed against as follows: The Standard Chartered Bank dollar account 1062650 with a balance of $391,401.28 on January 31, 2011;
The Standard Chartered Bank Euro account 5001062686 with a balance of EURO 49,971 .71 on January 31, 2011;
The Standard Chartered Bank pound sterling account 5001062679 with a balance of GBP23,409.66 on February 28, 2011;
“It is curious that these domiciliary accounts were not declared in one of the two CCB Forms filed by Justice Onnoghen on the same day, 14th December 2016,” the group said.
But CUPP said the federal government was angry because Onnohen “refused to compromise the composition of the post-2019 election Supreme Court Appeal Tribunal.
The coalition said: “Lobbying of all sorts by the APC chieftains to get the Chief Justice of Nigeria to accept to compromise the Presidential Election Appeal Tribunal and to compose the Governorship election Supreme Court Appeal Tribunal Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State, Delta State, Lagos state, Benue State, Imo State, Kwara State, Plateau state, Kaduna State, Abia State and Sokoto State with their preferred choices of justices did not succeed as the Chief Justice had remained faithful to his Oath of office and said by his actions that the Supreme Court was neither going to be partisan nor partial and would not consider such requests.
“The current ordeal of the Honourable Chief Justice will not end soon. He is up against people who are desperate and who do not care if the engine of state grinds to a halt. They have taken this dastardly attack to a new low by freezing all the family assets of the family of the CJN.
“We are in possession of the letter from the Attorney General of the Federation to this effect. This onslaught on the judiciary is as undemocratic as it is unconstitutional. This is capable of furtherderailing our democracy as such brazen violation of the Constitution is
only tantamount to treason.
“With the happenings in the last 48 hours and the insistence of the Presidency to either get the CJN to comply or be removed from office, we hereby notify the nation that the life of the Honourable CJN, Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen as well as those of his family members is not safe.
“The situation will very quickly descend into compromising the security of the CJN. The APC govt views the resistance of the CJN to the plot to hijack the Supreme court as the only piece that has not been fixed in its grand design to rig and manipulate the 2019 general election for President Muhammadu Buhari and APC chieftains.
“Nigerians will be shocked by the contents of the letter directing the freezing of the accounts and assets of the CJN. We hereby attach it.
“We are also in possession of audio recordings of meetings of those behind the plot including call records which we will be releasing as we analyze them. It is still amazing how the Buhari led APC govt is continuing in this path of ignominy, opprobrium, reproach, and dishonour despite the widespread outrage by Nigerians across board. Their mind is made up. They believe nothing can stop them now.”