A professor of Political Economics, Pat Utomi, has called for integrity among public officers in the interest of nation-building and unity.
He reacted to Thursday’s conviction of ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, of breach of code of conduct for public officers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Code of Conduct Tribunal chaired by Danladi Umar convicted Onnoghen, 68, and ordered his immediate removal as the CJN.
The CCT stripped him of all offices he occupied, such as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council and Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
The tribunal also ordered the forfeiture of money in five accounts which Onnoghen failed to declare as part of his assets.
The tribunal also ordered that he should not hold any public office for 10 years.
In an interview with NAN, Utomi said: “The times suggest that the point that we have always made about the importance of integrity is critical for nation-building and individual sense of unity.”
A lawyer and the president of Voters Awareness Initiative, Mr. Wale Ogunade, said that Onnoghen’s conviction showed that no one should be above the law.
He urged that corruption investigations be not politicised.
He said: “For such a step to be taken against a high-ranking official, particularly against the head of the judiciary, then there is smoke behind the fire. I knew something was wrong and, indeed, he was found guilty.
“I was convinced that he was guilty when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission wrote a petition to the National Judicial Council, which recommended his resignation and so on.
“I was one of those who suggested, when he started, that he should resign as an honourable man; but, unfortunately, he allowed himself to be misled by his kinsmen who believed that it was politics.
“Law and politics are like water and oil; there is no way you can mix the two. Law will always stand and politics will fall like what you have seen.
“It also shows that there is no sacred cow; those who think they are above the law now know they are under the law, it does not matter that you are the chief law officer.”