Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
There was tension yesterday as Police officers fired canisters at protesters demanding the immediate sack of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola over his alleged partisanship and making utterances that could erode the integrity of the judiciary.
Ariwoola, had last Thursday, in Port Harcourt, said he was happy with the Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde’s membership of the G-5 governors led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
However, the protesters who initially assembled at the Unity Fountain, later marched towards the Federal Ministry of Justice complex before encountering heavily armed policemen who fired several canisters at them.
The protesters carrying various placards with inscriptions such as: “You are partisan, Ariwoola resign now,” Judicial politicians will cause us harm, Ariwoola is a politician”, “We demand independent judiciary, peaceful 2023 general elections”, and “No more politicians in judicial bodies, among others, had to scamper for safety.
The spokesperson of the coalition, Olayinka Dada, while addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, said the Coalition had since analysed his statements and came to the conclusion that the country’s democracy was indeed in danger.
He insisted that the CJN’s position was an invitation to anarchy.
Dada said: “As responsible citizens of this country and the voice of the voiceless, we demand the immediate sack of the CJN especially now that his amorous political intentions and bias are in the public domain.
“The partisanship displayed with full emotional support by the CJN is evident enough to know that the 2023 election is already in his courts. He has compromised his office and person.”
Dada said in the coming days, should the CJN refuse to resign, the coalition would press for all legitimate means through citizens’ revolt for him to vacate the impartial and independent office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
He added: “We call on all Nigerians to see this anomaly as a danger enough to truncate citizens’ interest in electing a President of their choice come February, 2023.”
The coalition stressed that the journey to the country’s democracy to this point despite all imperfections and challenges was no doubt one that cost great countrymen and women their lives.
It said seeing the hard fought democracy under threat as being witnessed now was nonetheless a misnomer, adding that Nigerians would resist the affront with all legitimacy of their convictions.
Dada added: “The Chief Justice of Nigeria in an unholy visitation to Rivers state, alleged to be a bought commissioning exercise made reckless statements in favor of his new found political friend Governor Nyesom Wike.
“How do we explain that the man saddled with the impartial role of dispensing justice is now on the side of a particular group in a political dispute?
“Given the fact that 18 political parties are up in the race for the 2023 general election, we wonder what interest the CJN had in one of the political parties (PDP) leading him to obstruct the impartiality of the Judicial arm of government he currently heads.”