The lawyer to the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) has explained that his client resigned in the interest of the judiciary.
Awomolo, who confirmed the development to The Nation, on Friday, said Onnoghen resigned on Thursday.
He said: “I have just spoken with him. He confirmed to me that he resigned yesterday.
“He said he resigned in the interest of the Judiciary.”
Concise News had reported that Onnoghen had reportedly submitted his letter of resignation to President Muhammadu Buhari, two days after the National Judicial Council (NJC) reportedly advised that Onnoghen should retire over allegation of misconduct against him.
It was gathered that the resignation with immediate effect was the “best possible option” for Onnoghen under the current circumstance.
It was also learned that it would as well save the president from having to get two-thirds majority of the senate to confirm Onnoghen’s retirement as stipulated in Section 292 (1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The aforementioned section says: “Judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances – (a) in the case of – (i) Chief Justice of Nigeria… by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.”
As part of the package for retired chief justice, a house will be built for him in Abuja with a nine-digit sum for furnishing — in addition to a severance gratuity that is 300% of his annual basic salary of N3,363,972.50, as well as pension for life.
Just like state governors, a retired chief justice is entitled to a number of domestic staff and sundry allowances for personal upkeep.
This package for judicial officers was put together by the NJC long before Onnoghen became the CJN in 2017.
However, if he is dismissed, he will not be entitled to any benefits.
Onnoghen chose the option of resignation as a measure of damage control, TheCable quoted his associates as saying.