According to a statement issued on Saturday by Soji Oye, a spokesperson for the NJC, President Buhari sent the recommendation to the National Judicial Council and the supervisory body approved the appointment on Thursday.
This online news platform recalls that the suspended Onnoghen was convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Thursday and was barred from holding public office for 10 years. He has denied all allegations against him and has appealed the ruling.
Onnoghen’s suspension by the President few weeks to the February 23 Presidential election sparked uproar as the move was deemed unconstitutional, with the opposition accusing Mr Buhari of moving to appoint a stooge who would ensure judicial support after the polls would have been rigged.
Naija News recalls that the now-dismissed Onnoghen notified two weeks ago that he was stepping down, but the Presidency has yet to announce whether his exit had been approved by the president.
In what appeared to be the first pointer to the Presidency’s decision, a statement on Thursday by Garba Shehu, a Presidential spokesman, following Mr Onnoghen’s conviction, referred to him as “former” CJN.
Similarly, a statement issued on Saturday by the NJC, denied an unnamed media report that the council would meet next week to deliberate on the extension of Mr Muhammad’s term as the acting chief justice of Nigeria.
The statement said the approval had already been given.
“Contrary to the above, the Council actually met on Thursday 18th April 2019 and at the 88th Meeting considered and approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the extension of the Appointment of Hon. Dr Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria for another three (3) months and Council has since forwarded its approval to the President,” the statement read.
However, the statement did not state when President Buhari sent the request.