The Nigerian government has reacted to the position of both the United States of America and her United Kingdom counterpart on the suspension of the country’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen.
A statement by Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said as much as Nigeria welcomes interests and partnerships for a successful 2019 general elections, the government would not condone unfair interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Following the controversies generated by the suspension of Mr. Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday and the appointment of a successor in acting capacity, the United States, the United Kingdom and other foreign institutions issued statements advising the government to retrace its steps.
But the Federal Government on Saturday night strongly condemned the comments of the foreign countries on the suspension of the CJN, insisting that as a sovereign country, Nigeria deserves respect and honour.
The government statement came shortly after an Islamic socio-political group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), attacked both the U.S. and the U.K. over their positions on the suspension of the CJN.
MURIC accused the two western countries of being too quick to make statements on the suspension without raising their voices against what it described as the weighty allegations against the CJN.
The statement by Mr. Shehu reads in part; “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.
“In addition, the Federal government has ensured the independence of all organs, institutions and arms of government to perform their functions in a manner that is transparent and is not lacking in integrity whether institutionally or by persons within such institutions or organs and will continue to do this.
“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.”