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NJC Gives Onnoghen, Muhammad 7 Days To Respond To Petitions



NJC Gives Onnoghen, Muhammad 7 Days To Respond To Petitions

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has given suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen and Acting CJN, Tanko Muhammad, seven working days to respond to petitions filed against them.

Naija News recalls that the President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen last week Friday and immediately appointed Muhammad as the Acting CJN. Onnoghen was accused of non-declaration of assets.

Giving reasons for his decision in his speech which was obtained by Naija News, the President said there was an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, asking him to wield the big stick.

President Buhari said the order demanded that the CJN be suspended depending on the determination of his ongoing trial at the tribunal.

On the other hand, Muhammad was given seven working days to respond to a petition against him over an alleged breach of NJC rules.

Naija News reports that Muhammad was accused of making himself available to be sworn in as acting CJN without the approval of the NJC.

The NJC referred a petition written against the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

Muhammad’s employer, the FJSC, will treat the petition and refer it to NJC for action if there is a substance to it.

This online news platform understands that the NJC will now reconvene on February 11, 2019, to discuss further actions against the nation’s top two judicial officers.

NJC emergency meeting which held earlier today, was presided over by Umaru Abdullahi, former president of the court of appeal, following the absence of both Onnoghen and Muhammad who are in the eye of the storm.

Read the full NJC statement detailing the days given for the justices to respond to the petitions against them below…

Soyi Oye, the NJC director of information, issued a statement after the meeting.

He said: “The National Judicial Council held an Emergency Meeting today and considered four (4) petitions filed at its Secretariat. The petitions are Petition against Hon. Mr Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education; Petition against Hon. Mr Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative; Petition against Hon. Mr Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and Petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.

“Council referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.

“In line with its procedure, Council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I. T. Muhammad, CFR to them for their responses.

“In view of the gravity of the matters involved, Council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.

“Hon. Mr Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR recused themselves from the meeting. Consequently, Council elected Hon. Mr Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, former President of the Court of Appeal as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.

“Council will reconvene on the 11th February 2019.”