The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has expressed concern over the process and timing of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The mission, in a statement on Saturday by its Press and Public Outreach Officer, Sarah Fradgley, said the timing of the suspension just before the swearing in of justices for Electoral Tribunals raised concerns about the opportunity for electoral justice.
“The decision to suspend the Chief Justice has led to many Nigerians, including lawyers and civil society observer groups, to question whether due process was followed,” the statement said.
The EU EOM said with 20 days until the presidential and National Assembly elections, political parties, candidates and voters must be able to have confidence in the impartiality and independence of the judicial system.
It, however, called on all parties to follow the legal processes provided for in the Constitution and to respond calmly to any concerns they may have.
The mission said it would continue observing all aspects of the election, including the independence of the election administration, the neutrality of security agencies, and the extent to which the judiciary can and does fulfil its election-related responsibilities.