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Onnoghen: Buhari Removed Me After The Rumors That I Met Atiku In Dubai

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A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has broken his silence on why he was removed by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Onnoghen, who was accused of failing to declare his assets and operating foreign accounts, was suspended weeks before the 2019 general elections.

He was subsequently convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and barred from holding public office for 10 years.

Onnoghen’s removal had generated an uproar at the time as some persons said it had a political undertone.

But justifying his action when he hosted some Southern leaders at Aso Rock, Buhari had said, “Some of them swear to the Almighty God that their property doesn’t belong to them until we show them their bank accounts and their companies, right then we have some peace.

“Anybody who cannot account for what he has and for refusing to declare, we will have to do something about it. I will tell you Afenifere leaders that that was why I had to deal, though reluctantly, with the former Chief Justice of Nigeria because there were millions of dollars, euros not to talk of naira which were not declared.

“I wonder what sort of conscience some of us have. How can you seat and preside and lock people up for years and even sentence some to death and yet you are not doing what the constitution says you should do by occupying that vital institution?”

Also Read: I Hawked Fufu On The Streets, Says Kamaru Usman, Nigerian-Born American Fighter

However, speaking at the book launch of Ogwu Onoja, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in Abuja on Friday, Onnoghen said he was never confronted with any of the allegations before he was suspended.

‘I wasn’t given a chance to defend myself’

He said after the allegation of meeting with Atiku, he was removed from office without given the chance to defend himself.

“There were rumours that I met with Atiku in Dubai. But as I am talking here today, I have never met Atiku one on one in my life. As if that was not enough, I was also accused of setting free, some high-profile criminals, whereas I ceased to be a high court judge as far back as 1978,” he said.

“In supreme court, I did not sit alone, we sat in panel. In all these rumours and outright accusations, I was not given the opportunity to defend myself.

“Let me make it clear that the office of the CJN was not for Onnoghen, but for all Nigerians who swore to guide and protect the constitution of the federal republic.

“As I have said severally, judicial officers must be courageous. And I want to beg all serving judicial officers not to be discouraged by what happened to me in the hand of the executive arm of the government.

“Let me sound this note of warning that the appointment of judicial officers must never be allowed to be politicised, otherwise, democracy and democratic governance will be dead.

“During my tenure, the problem of Nigeria was not the Nigerian judiciary, but those who had no regard for the rule of law. We must therefore be committed to the rule of law and dispense justice without fear or favour. Truth stands. Crush it, it will still stand because it is truth.”

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Ronaldo to miss Juventus, Atalanta clash due to injury

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Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Sunday’s Serie A game against Champions League rivals Atalanta with a flexor muscle issue.

Coach Andrea Pirlo said the 36-year-old Portuguese striker, the top scorer in Serie A this season with 25 goals, would rest to avoid risking a more serious injury.

“We have an important absentee. Unfortunately, Cristiano will not be taking part in the match due to a problem with his flexor,” Pirlo told a pre-match press conference.

“Over these past few days, he has not been able to recover from the problem sustained after last Sunday’s match against Genoa.

“He hasn’t been able to push himself this week. It would be too risky for us to bring him to Bergamo tomorrow.

“We have decided to leave him in Turin to rest and we will try to have him back for Wednesday’s match against Parma.”

Champions Juventus are third, 12 points off leaders Inter Milan, with their nine-year reign looking set to end.

They play fourth-placed Atalanta who are just a point behind, with next week’s game at relegation-threatened Parma.

Pirlo blamed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s problem on fatigue.

Read Also: Yoruba self-determination rally begins in Ibadan

“Cristiano has always been in excellent condition,” said the Juventus coach.

“Unfortunately, the three matches in the national team have led to an accumulation of fatigue which is a problem for everyone.

“Cristiano also told me that in the national team he should only have played two games, but then that goal not given against Serbia led him to play the third as well, otherwise he would have been back at Juve’s disposal before the third game.

“An accumulation of everything, travel and games, can lead to fatigue. (Manchester City manager Pep) Guardiola also said it, there have been too many matches and the squads are too tight and these are the consequences.

“We also saw it in the Champions League, with (Bayern Munich’s Robert) Lewandowski who was unable to play the Champions League quarter-finals League due to an injury picked up in the national team.”

Juventus can however count on Argentina striker Paulo Dybala who will start for the first time in over three months, after a long knee injury layoff, partnering Alvaro Morata upfront.

Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci has recovered from Covid-19 contracted while with the national team but will start on the bench.

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Adeboye, Fayemi meet in Ekiti

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The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Saturday morning, met with Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, at the Government House, Oke Ayoba, Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

Speaking after the meeting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yinka Oyebode, said the 79-year-old cleric paid a courtesy call on the governor.

Read Also: Yoruba self-determination rally begins in Ibadan

He added that Adeboye and Fayemi also discussed issues of nationhood.

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Yoruba self-determination rally begins in Ibadan

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The Yoruba self-determination rally organised by the Ilana Omo Oodua is underway in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Hundreds of members of the group whose leader is an 86-year-old Emeritus Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, had initially scheduled the take-off of the rally for the ancient Mapo Hall but the heavy presence of armed policemen forced them to change the venue.

They are addressing people at Mapo Roundabout but they were not disturbed by the police in any way.

The agitators are armed with banners and Yoruba nation flags while leaders of the group addressing the people are saying Yoruba people are tired of staying with Nigeria.

Also Read: Iran nuclear talks set to resume in Vienna

One of the leaders of the group, Basorun Kunle Adesokan, said Yoruba were no longer part of Nigeria and the people want to be an independent nation.

He condemned the insecurity in Yorubaland, saying the people could no longer stand the injustice in Nigeria.

Adesojan said, “We are no longer part of Nigeria. Yoruba people are determined to stand alone. We are starting the rally here in Ibadan because this is the capital of the Yoruba nation.

” Our brothers in Kwara, Lagos, Kogi, Edo, Delta and other states are here. We are not going to use violence, we want the Yoruba nation. No retreat no surrender. Let Hausa go their way, let Fulani go their own way and Igbo people should also go.

“The rally has taken off, we won’t stop until we achieve our aim.”

One of the leaders of Itsekiri youths present at the rally, Isaac Ajatitan, said Itsekiri people were part of Yoruba and would support them to achieve this aim.

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