Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Friday advised suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen to resign as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
He gave the advice when members of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the state took their protest to the Government House in Kaduna.
El-Rufai, who received the protesters’ solidarity letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the suspension of the CJN, said with just over 20 years in public service, Justice Onnoghen possibly has more money than Aliko Dangote, the richest African.
According to him, the suspension of Onnoghen was in order, saying that even Dangote cannot forget one million dollars in his bank account.
“The case of Justice Onnoghen is the case in which somebody who has worked in government for past 20 years suddenly has millions of dollars in his account.
“He has admitted, but says he has forgotten about them. I want to express happiness to all of you for coming together to convey this very clear statement from the people of Kaduna State that in Kaduna we do not support corruption, in Kaduna we do not support injustice, in Kaduna State we are 100 per cent behind the integrity of our president.
“I can assure you that the message you have given to me will be delivered to the president today.
“The case with Justice Onnoghen is a very sad one. Othman Dan Fodio, the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, wrote that the worst form of corruption you can find in any public service is judicial corruption.
“This is because when the president is corrupt or the governor is corrupt, it is to the judge that ordinary people can take their case to. When the judge himself is corrupt, it is the highest form of corruption and must never be condoned.
“The president did the right thing by asking him to step aside pending investigation. It is the proper thing to do. It is what is done in every organised and civilised society.
“Unfortunately, some people in Nigeria are trying to make white black and black white. They are using technicalities to delay bringing this man to Justice.
“Mr President did not remove Onnoghen from office. He said in honour of the Judiciary, he should step aside so that the charges against him can be investigated and prosecuted.
“But the man is shameless; he does not want to go but it is time for Nigerians to come all out and tell him he must go. Our judiciary must be clean. Our judiciary must consist of judges who cannot be bought,” the governor said.
Leaders of the civil society organisations, Messrs Zubairu Muktar and Abubakar Abubakar, said all well-meaning and focused Nigerians interested in the progress of the country must continue to support the anti-corruption war of this administration.
They commended Buhari for taking the decisive step to restore the lost glory of the judiciary by rejuvenating our nascent democracy.
“It is indeed a step very timely and commendable,’’ Muktar said.
“As a coalition of more than 150 CSOs, we wish to convey to our President that we will continue to stand firm, straight and tall with him as he continues to purge out corruption embedded in the Nigerian system which has become a hindrance to the economic, political and social development of our dear nation,’’ he added.
On his part, Abubakar said: “We equally commend President Buhari for his continuous pledge of free, fair and credible elections. We wish him good health, wisdom and long life to re-engineer the country towards an enviable direction.”
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