“It is highly regrettable that the CJN has to go through this process but Buhari had issued specific instructions that anti-graft institutions be allowed to do their jobs without any interference. He did not even know that there was going to be any kind of trial until Saturday evening,” Osinbajo said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has absolved his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, of knowledge of the trial of Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), at the Code of Conduct tribunal (CCT).
Onnoghen is standing trial before the CCT over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Annual New Media Conference of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria in Abuja with the theme: ‘Free Press and Objective Reporting in the 2019 Election Year’, Osinbajo explained that Buhari didn’t know of any matter regarding financial misdemeanour involving the CJN until Saturday evening.
“It is highly regrettable that the CJN has to go through this process but Buhari had issued specific instructions that anti-graft institutions be allowed to do their job without any interference. He did not even know that there was going to be any kind of trial until Saturday evening,” Osinbajo said.
“He has said categorically that there shouldn’t be interference with whatever the institutions are doing. Sometimes, it has consequences such as we have today, such that people say how can such an important person be subjected to trial without the Federal Government, but I can tell you without any equivocation that he was not aware.
“I must tell you in clear terms that for President Muhammadu Buhari, his whole approach is that institutions should just do their work. I can tell you for a fact that he did not even know about this until Saturday evening.”
He charged online publishers to endeavour to crosscheck facts and resist attempts at making their platforms purveyors of fake news. He also spoke on the need to actively support local and international framework for preventing misuse of social media.
He, therefore, called for self-regulation to avoid opening the system to charlatans, adding that it is also important to be conscious of over-regulation or infraction of freedom of the press.
“It is important that self-regulation is robust enough to prevent a situation where government or formal establishment passes laws and actually think that there is need to regulate. I think once self-regulation is robust enough, it easier to make a case that we should not have government regulation.”