Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemn UK, US and EU for commenting on Onnoghen’s suspension, accuses them of supporting the opposition

The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union for releasing various statements, rebuking the Buhari-led government over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, Chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Recall that the foreign government over the weekend released various statements condemning the suspension of the Justice Onnoghen. The foreign governments opined that the suspension coming few weeks to the elections, will cast doubts on the credibility in the 2019 election.

A statement released by George Ehidiamen Edokpa, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesman said it is unfortunate that the foreign missions would align with the opposition, and their action portends tolerance for corrupt act. The Ministry’s statement in part reads

“It is indeed unfortunate that foreign missions would align with the opposition and seek to negatively interpret actions by the federal government, no matter their positive basis and intention,” the statement read.

“Had the Federal Government been high­-handed, would the opposition have been able to express its views, even to the point of pouring invective on Mr. President? How best can the corruption in the judiciary, which has enormously undermined the rights of the common man and made justice available only to the highest bidder, be best tackled than by ensuring that known cases are fundamentally tackled? Where is the rule of law, if justice is applied selectively?

“These statements also portend tolerance for corrupt acts and downplay the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari Administration, knowing fully that the suspended CJN had not denied the charges against him and that probity requires of him to step aside while the case is under scrutiny.

“Pertinent questions that the opposition and their sympathisers must reflect upon are: How has the action of Mr. President undermined the resolve for free and fair election? In what ways does it undermine the independence of the Judiciary, except   in the minds of the opposition and its cohorts? What right has a representative of a foreign government to incense an already volatile situation on the grounds that her Government has invested heavily in the elections?

“It is insulting for any foreign representative to claim the right to interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs, based on the premise that its government has invested heavily in the election. Nigeria has invested enormously, over the years, in election processes of many African countries, and will continue to do so without interfering in their internal affairs. Interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs under any guise will therefore not be accepted.”

The ministry warned representatives of foreign governments and organisations to desist from “using the utterances and actions of opposition and individuals as a vehicle to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs”.