Dennis Aghanya, Executive Director, Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI), the group which submitted the petition against Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, has debunked claims that it was it was instigated by the presidency to carry out its action.
Aghanya, in an interview, insisted that the petition was wholly pursued by his non-governmental organisation without the knowledge of the presidency.
He urged Nigerians not to politicise such serious national issues as the accused had already accepted the charges preferred against him.
The NGO director also noted that he had once filed a suit against his former boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, after he served as his media spokesperson.
“Did you not know that I once took Mr. President to court in 2011? I used to be one of his aides but I took him to court,” Aghanya told The Punch.
“This is a petition by an NGO. What has Mr. President got to do with it? People are just trying to avoid a major issue. Our concern is to unveil irregularities. People should not try to politicise the good work we are doing.
“The person the petition was written against owed up to everything. In issues of this nature, should we be sentimental or do we face facts?”
Speaking on the timing of the petition and trial, Aghanya said it was immaterial that it was coming just a month before the general elections, stating that Nigerians should instead be concerned about the validity of the allegations.
He noted that his organisation had been investigating Justice Onnoghen for over a year, adding that there were several cases against the CJN but the petitioners lacked the courage to bring it up.
He said the ARDI should be applauded for raising a petition against the CJN for the good of democracy instead of being castigated.
“There is no time lag in things of that nature, but it appears people are leaving the substance of the case to pursue shadow. People have not looked at the merit of the case, so they are not bothered that something was going wrong and we had to point it out.
“I weep for this country. How are we working for Mr President? Is it because we came up with a petition that was substantiated? Why should it be tied to the elections? It is immaterial.
“Even before he was sworn in as the CJN, there were cases established against him, but nobody had the courage to take them up,” Aghanya remarked.