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Onnoghen issue capable of discouraging credible foreign investors’—Igboanugo

Fresh business angle has emerged on the ongoing confusion engulfing the nation’s judicial arm of government as orchestrated by the executive.
It would recalled that on Friday last week, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, in his wisdom, suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mr. Walter Onnoghen on grounds of a ruling by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) even when the ruling had been superseded by the ruling of a superior court, the Court of Appeal.
Apart from the ruling and counter rulings trailing the matter, the 1999 Constitution as amended gave a clear provision on the due process of either appointing or removing a senior judicial officer which seems to have been set aside in the entire drama of suspending Onnoghen.
However, in an interview with a development economist, Dr. Ken Igboanugo, he explained that “Contrary to the understanding of many Nigerians that the executive fiat on which the president removed the CJN will only affect the smooth process of 2019 election coming less than one month away, the worst danger of the executive rascality will be the wrong signal and massive discouragement of willing and credible foreign investors who want to do business in Nigeria.
“Let me tell you. Every foreign investor going to an economy looks out for four strategic institutions for the safety of his or her business.
According to him, “The first one is security situation in the country, second; the stability of the economy and banking institutions, third; stability of government policies, and fourth; the independent of the judiciary”.
“With the abracadabra being orchestrated on the judiciary by the executive, intending investors must think twice before venturing into the Nigerian economy unless the issue is resolved with the desired speed.
“You are all aware that early signals at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), last Friday showed massive drop in market activities as investors stepped up withdrawal of their stakes.
“Foreign investors need high level guarantee that our judiciary is truly independent and can deliver justice as and when due so that they can be sure that in times of business default, they can easily get back their seed money.
Dr. Igboanugo expressed fears that “Under the unveiling circumstance where a CJN can be removed by executive fiat, every incoming investor must be in shocks or begin to look into another economy’s direction where the judiciary is standing firm.
Almost on the same line of reasoning, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has cautioned against tendencies that might undermine the credibility of the forthcoming elections in Nigeria, warning that an unstable political environment will escalate the risk of investment in the country.
Explaining more during a press briefing on the state of the economy in Lagos, President of LCCI, Mr. Paul Ruwase, said “There could be no meaningful investment in an environment where there “The political transition and electoral process in the country has far reaching implications for the economy. This is because political and social stability are critical factors that drive investors’ confidence. Thus, it is important to guard against the tendencies that may undermine the credibility of the electoral process.
“The risks associated with this period include security risks, governance and policy risks and risk to existing contractual obligations. We urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and the judiciary to be independent and fair to all parties. It is important to guard against the tendencies that distract state institutions from governance.”
According to him, “An unstable political environment naturally escalates the risk of investment; it creates anxiety and undermines the confidence of investors.
“We urge political actors to demonstrate restraint and refrain from activities that could undermine the stability of the polity and create avoidable social tension. This has become very important as political and electioneering activities gather momentum. While observing that “No meaningful investment can take place where there is breakdown of law and order,” he called caution against any move that will destroy the credibility of the economy to international investors and drivers of global capital inflows to Nigeria.

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