The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has reminded the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, that Nigeria was no longer a colony hence it can handle its internal affairs.
Oshiomhole while responding to questions as regards the admonishments to the federal government by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union Election Observer Mission, over President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, said such interference is not acceptable.
“The thing is that Nigeria is not a colony. I think we all have to be careful. We must defend the sovereignty of our country. We welcome collaboration, we welcome peer review, we can compare notes, we welcome people who are interested in sharing experiences with us whenever the need arises, whether it’s capacity building, making useful suggestions on how we can continue to improve on our electoral process.
“Those are very valuable contributions that we appreciate. But Nigeria is not a colony. We will not accept any foreign interference in the internal affairs of Nigeria.
“When they dismiss judges in Europe…judges have been dismissed in the United States when they are found guilty of corruption, the Western world cannot on the one hand, when it suits them, describe Nigeria as fantastically corrupt and when a corrupt judicial officer is being charged, people want to interfere.
“What anybody can insist on is, is anybody being framed? Is the suspended CJN guilty of the allegations made against him? Or is it something being cooked out from nowhere?
“Now, if a Chief Justice of the Federation admits that he has breached the law, if a Chief Justice of the Federation admits that he has several foreign domiciliary accounts, even though he also admits that by nature of his office, he is not s trader, what is he doing with accounts in British pounds, US dollars and in Euros and to the extent of forgetting that he has those accounts?
“If he has such memory failure about the size of his number of accounts as to fail to declare them, you and I know that not even ignorance is an excuse in law. So, where are we being hypocritical?
“And at a certain level of responsibility, it’s not even about legal technicalities. It’s about the moral weight, the moral burden you carry.
“So, nobody should make us feel as though we are at the mercy of any other country.
“The future of Nigeria is in the hands of Nigerians and our laws clear. Our laws are meant to be obeyed.
“If Nigerians thought that anybody other than the president and the vice president or a governor and deputy governor have immunity, it should have been so written into the constitution.
“I don’t understand what the noise is about. Some people say even if it is true, is this the proper timing? What is the best timing to prosecute a crime? Should we suspend criminal justice pending elections?
“Then, some people say you know, because of the very unique role or rather, very delicate role the judiciary has to play in settling elections issues, that is the more reason that people are worried about the timing.
“My question is, given that important role of the judiciary in times like this, is that the reason why you should allow a judge who has professed for breaching laws of the land, is that the reason to allow him to preside, to adjudicate over issues that have to do with fairness and justice?”