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CJN Onnoghen: I Report Only To Buhari, CCT Chair Tells NJC, FJSC




The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, has stated that he is not a judicial officer and is therefore not answerable to any institution except President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made this known while rejecting the authority of the National Judicial Council and the Federal Judicial Service Commission to summon or query him.

The CCT Chairman said this while responding to a petition against him by an organisation, the Incorporated Trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.

In a petition signed by Grace Wogor, the group asked the commission to sanction Danladi Umar for abusing court processes and granting an ex parte order removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, when the CJN had not yet been convicted.

The FJSC subsequently issued a query to the CCT boss, asking him to respond to the allegations against him.

In his response, dated February 6, 2019, and marked CCT/HQ/FJSC/S/01 and addressed to the acting Chairman of the FJSC, Umar said he was answerable only to the Presidency.

He said, “With regard to the prayer of the petitioner for an appropriate sanction against the chairman, it is important to note that the chairman and members of the tribunal, not being judicial officers, are not constitutionally subject to any disciplinary proceedings by either the National Judicial Council or the Federal Judicial Service Commission but the Presidency.”

“The petitioner alleged that judicial oaths were breached and that the National Judicial Council should consider appropriate sanctions. It is to be noted that the chairman and members of the Code of Conduct Tribunal are not judicial officers.

“This is predicated on the fact that the chairman and members of the tribunal, during swearing-in, only subscribe to official oaths and not judicial oaths. Therefore, not being a judicial officer, I did not subscribe to judicial oaths as alleged,” he added.

On why he granted the ex parte order, the CCT chairman said he did so because it was within his power but added that he could not speak further since the matter was before the Court of Appeal and commenting on it would be subjudice.

The CCT boss also attached a letter dated May 18, 2015, which was signed by the then CJN and Chairman of the NJC, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.

In the letter with reference number NJC/CIR/HOC/1/74, the then CJN asked members of the CCT to stop referring to themselves as justices as they were not judges.

The decision was made pursuant to Paragraph 15 (1 and 2) of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Source: Naija News