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Onnoghen Fights Back, Drags Buhari Govt To Court Over Suspension



Onnoghen resigns

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has filed a suit against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government over his suspension.

Naija News recalls that President Buhari suspended Onnoghen last week Friday and immediately appointed Tanko 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.

Apparently displeased with the development, Onnoghen has now filed a suit against the Buhari government through his lawyers, Wole Olanipekun, Adegboyega Awomolo, Kanu Agabi and James Onoja.

In the suit sighted by Naija News, Onnoghen based his appeal on four grounds, asking the court to rule that the CCT order was null and void.

“The chairman and a member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal erred in law and violated the right of the appellant (Onnoghen) to a fair hearing when they made the order ex parte that he (Onnoghen) shall step aside as CJN and Chairman of the National Judicial Council over allegations of contravening provisions of the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act Cap C15 Laws of the Federation 2004 pending the determination of the motion on notice dated January 10, 2019,” part of the appeal read.

This online news platform reports that the suit of the suspended CJN is coming after the National Judicial Council (NJC) met over the issue on Tuesday and gave Onnoghen seven days to respond to a petition filed against him.

On the other hand, Muhammad was also 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.

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