The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the face-off between the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, and justices of the Supreme Court shows evidence of systemic emasculation of the judiciary and plot to subvert the will of the people by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
The PDP stated this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday.
Fourteen aggrieved justices of the apex court had, in a widely circulated letter to the CJN, accused him of neglecting their welfare, not carrying them along in managing the affairs of the court, the deteriorating condition of services generally, and the state of the litigations department.
But Justice Muhammad denied the allegations and condemned taking the issues to the public.
PDP said the failure of the CJN to address the weighty issues contained in the protest letter “reveals that there is a systemic design by the APC government to ensure that the Judiciary is stifled and handicapped to deliver on its constitutional duty as an independent arm of government.”
PDP accused the APC of desperation to silence judges in Nigeria through the stagnation of judicial infrastructure and operation, denying judges the rights to a conducive atmosphere to dispense justice and perform their constitutionally assigned roles.
The party alleged that it was because of the plot that the administration undertook the 2016 midnight raid and arrest of judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, saying the action was akin to a declaration of war against the judiciary.
“Nigerians are reminded about the harassment, intimidation, suspension, illegal and unjust removal from office of the former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the APC, being afraid of his independent mindedness ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
“Nigerians can also recall the role reportedly played by the APC administration in staging the last year’s invasion of the now retired Justice Mary Odili’s home apparently to instill fear in the judiciary ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“It is instructive to recall that the magistrate who issued the warrant for that dastardly act reportedly averred that he was misled by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation,” he said.
The opposition party also said the letter by the Supreme Court justices is a wake-up call to all Nigerians, particularly the Bar and the Bench, the civil society, organised labour, the media and the international community to rise to the occasion and rescue the country’s judiciary from the stranglehold of the APC.
The party, therefore, demanded that the CJN immediately address the issues raised by the justices especially those that border on allegations of corruption and underhand dealings.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Barr Felix Morka, neither answered phone calls nor responded to text and WhatsApp messages sent to his phone at of the time of filing this report last night.