Court Rules On Age Falsification Suit Against Acting CJN
Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed (Image courtesy State House)

Nigeria’s highest ranking judicial officer Justice Tanko Muhammad says President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) right.

Muhammad was appointed as acting CJN by Buhari on 25 January, in line with an ex-parte order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

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Concise News learned that the acting CJN made his position known on Onnoghen’s suspension and eventual conviction in his response to a suit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, by the Incorporated Trustees of Malcom Omirhobo Foundation.

“Any public officer found guilty of the breach or violation of Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) can be ordered to vacate the office he is holding as the consequence of the breach or violation of the code of conduct,” the acting CJN argued.

He also argued that he committed no offence by submitting himself to be sworn in as acting CJN.

“The fifth defendant (the President) has the power to remove or suspend any person occupying the office of the Chief of Nigeria, being the appointing authority,” he said.

“As at January 25, 2019, the order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal also directed the fifth defendant to swear in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“It was pursuant to the order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal that the fifth defendant appointed the third defendant as the Acting CJN.

“In the circumstance, I know as a fact there was no need for a recommendation of the second defendant (FJSC) to the first defendant (NJC) or of the first defendant to the fifth defendant (Buhari) before the erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria could be suspended from office.

“There was also no need for the fifth defendant to approach the seventh defendant for support by majority of two-thirds votes before the erstwhile CJN could be suspended from office.

“The fifth defendant followed due process of law in the appointment of the third defendant as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“There has not been any negative impact on the Nigerian Judiciary as there is renewed belief by the common man in the Judiciary as his last hope.”