President Donald Trump of the United States have issued stern warning to President Muhammadu Buhari over the replacement of the sitting Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen without due regard to the stipulated constitutional procedures.
Trump made the position of the U.S government known through the United States embassy in Nigeria, “The Embassy of the United States is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections,” the statement read.
“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch.
That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.
“We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria.
Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.”
Recalled that US threatened to ban Nigerian election riggers entry into its country, when it says, “The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.
The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process.
“We, and other democratic nations, will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.
We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.
Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.”
On her part, the United Kingdom promised continued support for Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) towards making the electoral process credible and peaceful.
The statement reads in part; “We continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.
We also regularly engage with actors across the political spectrum to encourage them to respect electoral rules and maintain an atmosphere of peace and calm.
We will be deploying an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission.
“Our monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media.
We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals.
These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law.”
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