Onnoghen: Supreme Court To Decide Suspended CJN's Fate May 17
Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Supreme Court has fixed judgment of a suit by Cross River State Government seeking to set aside the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen for May 17 this year.

A seven-man panel of the court, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour fixed the date on Thursday after taking arguments from lawyer to parties.

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Lucius Nwosu (SAN) argued on behalf of the plaintiff (Cross River State), while Dayo Apata, Solicitor General of the Federation (argued for the defendants – the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation).

The plaintiff contended that Onnoghen’s suspension or removal from office by President Muhammadu Buhari, based on an ex-parte order by a lay magistrate (the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal) violates the Constition, particularly Section 292(1).

The defendants in a counter-argument are of the view that the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to approach the Supreme Court on the issue, because Onnoghen’s suspension was personal to him and cannot be interpreted to amount to a dispute between the Federal Government and the Cross River State Government.

Buhari on January 25 suspended the embattled Onnoghen, following the order of Code of Conduct Tribunal on January 23rd.

The Nigerian government said the suspension stood until the conclusion of Onnoghen’s trial over alleged non-declaration of assets as required by the law at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.