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.

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

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

This Danish scheme is offering free kayak rides… for picking up trash

UN chief urges restraint following reported Saudi-led assault in Yemen

The future of suicide and depression prevention

‘Pioneering’ former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet officially appointed new UN human rights chief

Resilience in times of pandemic

UN Security Council urged to act against ‘worst-case scenario’ Syria’s war-battered Idlib

UN Mission in Afghanistan gravely concerned about ill-treatment of prisoners by Taliban, following first-hand testimony

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: 195 countries adopt the First Universal Climate Agreement

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

China Unlimited: an exclusive interview with the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

COVID-19 prisoner releases are not a matter of mercy, but of justice

World Retail Congress announces Dubai 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

These countries have the most expensive childcare

UN chief welcomes agreement by rival leaders in South Sudan, as a step towards ‘inclusive and implementable’ peace

4 essential qualities for digital leaders

We can end TB right now. Here’s how

MEPs adopt new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

Commission adopts €4 billion investment package for infrastructure projects across 10 Member States

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Apparently the EU Digital Single Market passes necessarily from China’s Digital Silk Road

European financial values on the rise

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025

European Business Summit 2014: Sting Report, Day I

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

Can India reduce deaths on one hazardous road to zero? This group is trying

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned

Reparations for sexual violence in conflict – ‘what survivors want most, yet receive least’

rescEU: EU establishes initial firefighting fleet for next forest fire season

National parks transformed conservation. Now we need to do the same for the ocean

Ambitious measures needed to ensure equal pay for women, say MEPs

This app lets you plant trees to fight deforestation

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2015: Why interns should matter to business

This is what the world’s youngest prime minister said at Davos 2020

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Monsanto lawsuit ruling a ‘significant recognition’ of victims’ human rights, say UN rights experts

Policymakers can ensure the 4IR is fairer than the last three

Newly displaced fleeing attacks in northeast Nigeria, top 2,000

Car rentals: EU action leads to clearer and more transparent pricing

General Elections in Spain: Twitter organises the first digital debate to empower young people.

3 charts that show how attitudes to climate science vary around the world

Civil society can make sure no one is left stranded by the skills gap

Murder of Brazilian indigenous leader a ‘worrying symptom’ of land invasion

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

The relationship between Dengue and the rainfall in Boa Vista, Brazil

EU announces record €550 million contribution to save 16 million lives from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Tusk fights back while charismatic Boris goes against everybody in Brussels pushing the UK to leave the EU now or never

COVID-19 underlines the importance of fintech in emerging markets

SMEs turning to alternative financing instruments as growth slows in bank lending

Parliament names radio studio after journalists murdered in December attack

OECD joins with Japan to fight financial crime by establishing new academy

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

Commission moves to ensure supply of personal protective equipment in the European Union

Berlin to pay at the end for Eurozone banks’ consolidation

Most fish consumers support a ban on fishing endangered species, poll finds

More Stings?

Advertising

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