Suspended Chief Judge of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen
Suspended Chief Judge of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has commended the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) over its latest recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Recall that the NJC on Wednesday recommended that the Onnoghen be compulsorily retired while the Acting CJN Tanko Muhammad was absolved of all allegations by the council.

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MURIC in a statement sent to Concise News by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Friday said the recommendations met the expectations of a large majority of Nigerians.

“We hail NJC for this decision. It is a most welcome recommendation. NJC has openly displayed its readiness to uphold the golden principle of equality before the law. By this decision, the highest legal body in the land has saved the judiciary from a monumental conundrum.

“The poor man in the street can now expect justice. This recommendation sends a signal to the Nigerian judicial community on the need to sit up. It is not going to be business as usual from now on. NJC has removed the myth of the sacred cow in the Nigerian judiciary.

“In the same vein, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) must now see the need to be painstakingly meticulous and to desist from rushing to judgement concerning the nature of homo sapiens and his inherent weaknesses.

“NJC’s findings also constitute a wakeup call for the legal body to re-orientate its membership on the need to always uphold the ethics of the legal profession.

“We doff our hats for the NJC over this decision. The council deserves accolades particularly for the maturity exhibited in withholding all information until its recommendations reach the president.

“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to bend the steel while the iron is hot by immediately embarking on the long overdue judicial reform programme.

“Nonetheless, we object to NJC’s alleged recommendation which may allow the suspended CJN to sit in Council of State meetings with his predecessors and partake in decisions of crucial national importance. Onnoghen does not deserve any a la noblesse oblige treatment any longer. It can set a bad precedent and still encourage extra-judicial excesses among his peers.

“As we draw the curtain, we laud NJC for its forthright recommendations. We charge the NBA to look inwards with a view to revisiting some of its perceptions of the polity. We urge President Buhari to institute judicial reform without delay. We appeal to Nigerians to continue to have faith in the country’s judicial machinery.”