The suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen and swearing in of Justice Tanko Mohammed as Acting Chief Judge of Nigeria has generated a lot of controversial reactions from citizens at home and abroad, political parties, lawyers and even foreign bodies.
The Federal Government has warned against foreign interference into the nation’s affairs, capable of creating apprehension, distrust among citizens or undermining the transparency and acceptability of outcomes of the nation’s electoral process.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
The presidential aide was apparently reacting to statements issued by some foreign countries including the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (U.S.A.) and the European Union, over the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.
President Buhari also swore-in the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko, to replace Onnoghen, pending final determination of the cases against him.
However, Shehu stated that the federal government condemned “any interference or perception management that promotes apprehension,citizens distrust or undermines the transparency and acceptability of the outcomes of our electoral process.
“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws,customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all.
“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections’’.
According to him, the federal government welcomes the prevailing keen interest and partnerships for successful elections and a peaceful Nigeria.
He added that the government had ensured the independence of all organs, institutions and arms of government to “perform their functions in a manner that is transparent, and not lacking in integrity whether institutionally or by persons within such institutions or organs.’’
He pledged that the government would continue to do this.
He said: “Although the question of foreign interference, whether state sponsored, promoted or otherwise has dominated recent elections and outcomes globally, the federal government assures citizens and the global community that it will fiercely and assiduously promote the will and the right of Nigerians to choose and elect their leaders without pressure or assistance from persons or entities that are not constitutionally empowered to participate in the process.’’
The presidential media aide enjoined the citizens to confidently exercise their franchise in an orderly manner with the assurance of the federal government to their security during and after the electoral process.
He reiterated the readiness of the nation’s security forces to confront any plan or attempt to interfere with or disrupt the process whether by elements within or from outside the country.