A Coalition of Niger Delta agitators yesterday warned it would attack the nation’s oil infrastructure if the Federal Government does not back down on its plan to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Onnoghen, who is from the region, is expected to appear before the CCT today over a six-count charge of alleged false declaration of assets.
The threat was contained in a statement by one General John Dukku on behalf of Niger Delta Watchdogs, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, and others.
“We want to state categorically that if the presidency fails to reverse its harassment against the CJN, we will have no other option but to mobilise all the Niger Delta fighters and commence serious actions that would shake the country and the whole world.”
The statement reads in part: “President Muhammadu Buhari was not disposed to Justice Onnoghen’s appointment to this position, which was why he refused to confirm the appointment after so many months of (Onnoghen) serving in acting capacity. It was during the period of his sickness while in Britain that the acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed the appointment.
“We wish to also recall that in August last year, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa of Bayelsa State, who was the most senior and most qualified officer at the time, was appointed to the position of acting director general of the Department of State Services by Prof. Osinbajo, only to be replaced with a retired and junior officer to Mr. Seiyefa, Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi by President Buhari as soon as he (Buhari) resumed duties. We hereby vehemently resist any attempt to remove CJN Walter Onnoghen from office.
In other reactions, five of the six governors of the south-south held an emergency meeting yesterday and called on the CJN to ignore the CCT summons.
Their communiqué was signed by Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State; Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State; Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State; Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State; and Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State.
Human rights lawyer, Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, described the planned trial as illegal. He said according to Section 36 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, a citizen who is charged with a criminal offence must be taken to the appropriate forum with the requisite jurisdiction to try the crime.