Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome on Tuesday disagreed over lawyers’ reaction to the removal of immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen.
They both exchanged words during the Rule of Law Session of the 59th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference (AGC) in Lagos.
Ozekhome berated lawyers for not pouring out on the streets and shutting down the government to protest Onnoghen’s prosecution and conviction by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
He made reference to the case of President Pervez Mushraf who on March 9, 2007, according to him, unjustly and unconstitutionally removed Muhammed Mushraf as the Chief Justice.
“Can’t we do more than we have done”? Ozekhome questioned. He also faulted the NBA for not coming out to protest during Onnoghen’s removal.
In a swift reaction, Falana said the Chief Justice of Pakistan was not removed for corruption as in the case of Onnoghen.
He questioned the former president of the NBA Olisa Agbakoba saying, “Olisa, can the NBA morally go to the street to fight for judges who have millions that they cannot account for in their account?”
Minority Leader of the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe had earlier decried President Muhammadu Buhari’s removal of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen from the Supreme Court.
Abaribe blamed the Nigerian Bar Association and fellow judges for not taking action and remaining silent knowing fully well that a Chief Justice cannot be removed without coming to the Senate.
“In the matter of Onnoghen, what happened? We waited for the NBA, nothing happened? We waited for the fellow judges nothing happened. Because the law is very clear, you cannot remove a Chief Justice without coming to the senate yet, it happened, and nothing happened.”
The former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba also at the event said Onnoghen’s removal would serve as a reference point in the future. He also appreciated Senator Abaribe for “telling us the truth.”