The UK Government has expressed concern over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen ahead of the general elections.
The UK made this known in a statement from its High Commission in Abuja on Saturday.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday suspended Onnoghen, pending the outcome of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
Onnoghen is facing trial over allegations of corrupt practices before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The UK Government said that it was compelled, as a friend of Nigeria, to observe that the timing of the suspension risked affecting the credibility of the forthcoming elections.
“We have heard a wide range of credible and independent voices, including in the Nigerian legal profession and civil society, who have expressed concern over the constitutionality of the executive branch’s suspension of the chief officer of the judiciary.
“We respect Nigeria’s sovereign authority and its right to adjudicate on constitutional provisions but as friends of the Nigerian people, we are compelled to observe that the timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern.
“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections.
“We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely.”
It also encouraged all actors to maintain calm and address the concerns raised through due process and demonstrate their commitment to respecting the constitution and the impartial administration of the rule of law.
“We further urge them to take steps to ensure that elections take place in an environment conducive to a free, fair and peaceful process,” it stated.