The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the the Peoples Democratic Party and all those raising dust over President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, should focus instead on the issue of his non-declaration of suspect millions of dollars in his possession.
He also responded to the PDP’s suspension of its campaign as protest over the CJN’s suspension, saying it was merely a face-saving measure since the party’s campaign never gained traction in the first instance.
The minister, according to statement, spoke while responding to reporters’ question in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Saturday, on the suspension of the PDP’s campaign.
He said, ”Which campaign? Their campaign was over a long time ago. There is nothing to suspend. We said it that their campaign had floundered.
“You can now see. What they are doing now is looking for a face-saving way out of a dead and buried campaign.”
He wondered why the PDP is crying more than the bereaved, and asked the opposition party whether Justice Onnoghen is one of its members.
“And in any event, let’s ask them this question: Is there something that they know that we don’t know? Is there something between them and the suspended CJN?
“Otherwise, we did not see why they should suspend their campaign anyway, but I can understand that their campaign was bound to end this way,” Mohammed said.
He said while Nigerians had been trooping out in large numbers wherever the President’s campaign ship berths, he claimed that the PDP supporters had been dwindling by the day.
On the outcry by some people and organisations over Justice Onnoghen’s suspension, the minister said it was troubling that those who “are crying foul over the suspension of the CJN have actually ignored the fact that a serving Chief Justice not only amassed millions of dollars in his account, but admitted that he forgot to declare same in his Assets Declaration Form.”
According to him, “For anybody who read Mr. President’s address yesterday, two things stood out. The first is that additional evidence has just been revealed that the suspended CJN refused to declare millions of dollars in his possession.
“More worrisome is the fact that when the suspended CJN was confronted with the petition that he failed to declare his assets, he added that it was a mistake, that he forgot.
“Now, I would have been a happier person if the same people who are now crying tyranny and dictatorship could really address the issue raised by the President, in his address on Friday, that addition investigations have revealed that several millions of dollars were found in the CJN’s account.
“And when the CJN was confronted with the original allegation, he admitted that he forgot to make full declaration, and that it was a mistake. ”
On the constitutionality of the CJN’s suspension, he faulted those claiming that the President acted outside of the Constitution, adding that in suspending Justice Onnoghen, the President merely carried out an order of a court of competent jurisdiction directing him to suspend the Chief Justice pending the final determination of the cases against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
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