Judicial independence under threat in Nigeria, warns UN rights expert

UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre Diego Garcia-Sayan, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, is warning that judicial independence in Nigeria is at risk.(File)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The dismissal of Nigeria’s Chief Justice may constitute a grave attack on judicial independence from the State, a UN-appointed independent rights expert said on Monday, warning of “threats, pressures and interferences” made against the lawyers defending him.

Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, was suspended on 25 January, the independent UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayán noted in his statement. His comments come ahead of general elections in Nigeria, due to be held on Saturday.

“International human rights standards provide that judges may be dismissed only on serious grounds of misconduct or incompetence,” he said. “Any decision to suspend or remove a judge from office should be fair and should be taken by an independent authority, such as a judicial council or a court.”

According to Mr. Garcia-Sayán, who reports to the UN Human Rights Council, the decision to replace Chief Justice Onnoghen with Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad was taken by Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, who insisted he had “acted in compliance” with an order issued by a tribunal to decide on alleged breaches of the code of conduct for public officials.

This was despite the fact that four other courts with higher jurisdiction, had already ordered that proceedings be halted, the UN expert outlined, listing the Court of Appeal, the National Industrial Court and the two Federal High Courts.

On the issue of intimidation of defence lawyers and judges involved in the decision to remove Chief Justice Onnoghen, Mr. Garcia-Sayán said that one of the senior advocates defending him was arrested on Wednesday.

Others had been “subject to serious threats, pressures and interferences”, he warned, adding that such allegations “may constitute, if proven, grave attacks to the independence of the judiciary and the free exercise of the legal profession”.

“Lawyers play an essential role in securing access to justice, and should never suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or other sanctions for action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics,” Mr. García-Sayán said.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

This billion-dollar campaign wants to protect 30% of the planet by 2030

ILO welcomes new UNDP report that places decent work at the heart of sustainable development

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, who gets it and who pays the bill?

4 innovative renewable energy projects powering Europe’s green future

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

Civil protection: Parliament strengthens EU disaster response capability

Drinking water: new plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter

Global health challenges require global medical students

Brexit negotiations: back to square one, tougher words, no good faith

After this year’s Climate Action Summit, what happens next?

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

3 ways governments and carmakers can keep up with the future of transport

10 things Europe does better than the rest of the world

“If they think they can slave an entire nation, then they will just have the opposite results!”, Alexis Tsipras cries out from the Greek parliament

How can we measure real progress on the Sustainable Development Goals?

Cambodia: Giving back to UN peacekeeping

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

How public private partnerships must evolve to create social impact

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

5 amazing people fighting to save the oceans

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

Somalia: UN congratulates Puntland region’s newly-elected President

We are close yet so far…

EU Youth Goals – we are shapers not listeners

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

FROM THE FIELD: Stopping aquatic hitchhikers to safeguard environments at sea

New roadmap toward healthier and cleaner oceans adopted by UN Environment and European Commission

5 facts to know about Africa’s powerhouse – Nigeria

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

European Defence Fund on track with €525 million for Eurodrone and other joint research and industrial projects

The relation of deforestation and respiratory diseases

Here’s how data can shine a light on financial crime

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Eurozone has practically entered a deflation trap

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

Yemen war: The battle rages on, children suffer most

Despite progress towards peace, Afghanistan facing ‘daunting challenges’ ahead of presidential vote

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

G7 summit: Trump Vs. G6 leaders on trade and climate change

Who will secure Lithuania?

Act now to end violence, Zeid urges Nicaraguan authorities

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

New forms of work: deal on measures boosting workers’ rights

Maros Sefcovic Canete European Commission Energy

Better late than never? Commission runs now to fight energy dependency on Russia with the sustainable energy security package

Warmongers ready to chew what is left of social protection spending

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

China and UK relations post Brexit as EU addresses Chinese takeovers

Manipulating privacy and reaping the benefits of technology

South Sudan ‘revitalized’ peace deal must be inclusive, Security Council hears

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

Malta: MEPs conclude fact-finding visit to assess Caruana Galizia murder inquiry

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

At last Britain considers a super-soft Brexit

Long live Eurozone’s bank supervisor down with the EU budget supremo

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

MWC19 Wrap Up, in association with The European Sting, GSMA’s Brussels Media Partner for the 6th Consecutive Year

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s