Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has described Nigeria as a “full-blown dictatorship” and its “democracy on fire” following President Buhari’s decision to sack the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen and replace him with Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed who now holds the Acting position as CJN.
In a statement on Saturday, Dogara said, “This did not come as a rude shock except to those who have been blind to the gradual but progressive erosion of democratic values in the polity as President Buhari’s government has never hidden its disdain for the rule of law,
“We have watched in disbelief as the Government recklessly deploys institutional prerogatives; routinely flouts the rule of law; subverts and assaults democratic Institutions; refuses to accept opponents as legitimate; suppresses citizens civil liberties(especially those of opponents) and trample underfoot the media. In short, the Government’s tyrannical and authoritarian credentials are loathsomely legendary.
“The whole idea of a limited government is that the President’s powers is limited by law and it is ultra vires his powers to act in the absence of explicit legislative authorisation. That is representative democracy at its best which our 1999 Constitution as amended guarantees.”
Dogara also added that the President’s move flouts the Nigerian constitution as no parts of sections 157 and 292 supports it.
The lawmaker wrote, “It is instructive to note that our constitution does not contemplate or presupposes a situation whereby the Judiciary will have a suspended CJN and an acting CJN at the same time. Therefore, it is right to posit, as some have done that the President now has his own Chief Judge to do his bidding while Nigeria has a sitting CJN until he is removed in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
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“As of today, Nigeria is now Germany in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire. Our democracy is on fire; ignited by the very people who swore to protect and defend it.
“That this fire must not convert the chancellor to Fuhrer as it happened in Germany in 1933 depends on our collective response and that of the international community. We must not bow our knees to dictatorship: not now, not ever again”