Dangiwa Umar to Buhari: Don’t dump Mensem as Appeal Court president

A former Kaduna state Military Governor Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Sunday wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, advising him not to dump the acting president, Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban Mensem for the next in line on account of religious or ethnic reasons. 

He also expressed some reservations over some appointments so far made by the president, saying they could negatively impact Nigeria.

The letter entitled: ‘Mr President; Please belong to all of us’  said  Nigeria had become dangerously polarised and risk sliding into crisis on account of  Buhari’s “lopsided appointments.”

He claimed the president was giving undue preference to some sections of the country over others in his appointments.

The letter came against the backdrop of the president’s fifth year anniversary in office. 

Dated 31st May, 2020, the letter  reads: ” All those who wish you and the country well must mince no words in warning you that Nigeria has become dangerously polarized and risk sliding into crisis on account of your administration’s lopsided appointments which continues to give undue preference to some sections of the country over others.

“Nowhere is this more glaring than in the leadership cadre of our security services.

“Mr. President, I regret that there are no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the offices of the federal government, favoring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to this nation.”

He added: “You may wish to recall that I had cause to appeal to you, to confirm Justice Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria a few days before the expiration of his three months tenure of acting appointment to be replaced by a Muslim Northerner.

“We were saved that embarrassment when his nomination was sent to the senate by the then acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo.

“When he was finally confirmed a few days to the end of his tenure, he was removed after a few months and replaced by Justice Muhammed, a Muslim from the North.

“May I also invite the attention of Mr. President to the pending matter of appointment of a Chief Judge of the Nigerian Court Appeal which appears to be generating public interest.

As it is, the most senior Judge, Justice Monica Dongban Mensem, a northern Christian, is serving out her second three-month term as acting Chief Judge without firm prospects that she will be confirmed substantive head.”

“I do not know Justice Mensem but those who do attest to her competence, honesty and humility. She appears eminently qualified for appointment as the substantive Chief Judge of the Court of Appeal as she is also said to be highly recommended by the National Judicial Council.

If she is not and is bypassed in favor of the next in line who happens to be another northern Muslim that would be truly odd.

“In which case, even the largest contingent of PR gurus would struggle to rebut the charges that you, Mr. President, is either unwilling or incapable of acting on your pledge to belong to everyone — and to no one.

I hope you would see your way into pausing and reflecting on the very grave consequences of such failure not just to your legacy but to the future of our great country.”

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