The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, ACJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has said that suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen, remains the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Muhammad said he would step aside once the Code of Conduct Tribunal or the Appeal Court reverses Onnoghen’s matter.
He, however, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari does not need the permission of the National Judicial Council, NJC, to appoint an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
This was part of Justice Muhammad’s response to a query given to him by the NJC.
Justice Muhammad pointed out that the NJC ought to be consulted only when a substantive CJN is being appointed or re-appointed.
He said, “In my respectful view, the National Judicial Council has no role to play in the appointment of an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in the first instance, that is to say on first appointment.
“The council comes in where the appointment as the acting CJN is to be renewed or extended. I humbly refer to Section 231(4) of the 1999 Constitution.
“It was for the larger interest of the judiciary and the constitutionality that I accepted to be sworn in as acting CJN with the conviction that if the order of January 23, 2019 is eventually set aside, the status quo would be restored.
“But before it is set aside, there should be no vacuum in the office of the CJN and the chairman of the NJC.
“On January 25, 2019, I was summoned to the Aso Villa at the instance of the President. Prior to the summons, I was not aware of the fact that the Code of Conduct Tribunal made any order on January 23, 2019.
“Furthermore, beyond what I read in the newspapers and watched on the television just like any other Nigerian, I was not privileged to see any of the processes filed by the parties before the tribunal. Hence, I could not really appreciate the merit or demerit of divergent positions.
“On the 25th day of January, the President swore me in as the acting CJN and not as the substantive CJN. Justice Walter Onnoghen remains the CJN until he is removed from office in accordance with the provision of the constitution. He is only suspended.”
The Acting CJN said that he was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia State High Court for accepting to be sworn in as chief judge by the Abia State Government without a recommendation of the NJC but added that his own case was different because he was only appointed as an acting CJN.
Muhammad appealed to the NJC to throw aside the petition written against him by a group, Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.
The group had written a petition to the NJC, demanding that the council to remove Muhammad as a justice of the Supreme Court.
They said Muhammad compromised by allowing himself to be sworn in by the President without recourse to the NJC.
BREAKING: High Court grants El-Zakzaky leave to travel
Kaduna State High Court has granted leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky leave to travel abroad for medical attention.
“Passage of life pension Bill, a desperate coup against Bayelsa people”—Group
A group, the Bayelsa Against Eelection Violence Initiative (BAEVI) has kicked against the recent passage by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly of a bill to provide for monthly lifetime pension for its members, describing the action as a desperate coup against the people.
According to the group, the presentation of same to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson for assent is the height of legislative rascality and desperation and, to say the least, an economic coup against the state.
The group, the Bayelsa Against Eelection Violence Initiative (BAEVI),in a statement issued yesterday in Yenagoa, said the passage of this repugnant bill at a time when government has consistently screamed blue murder over dwindling state income and rising liabilities,” speaks to a clear lack of moral compass on the part of our reprentatives to put the public good first in all things and ensure the equitable and beneficial use of scarce state resources.”
The group, in the statement, signed by its President, Hon. Preye Johnbull and Secretary, Egba Father, the doctrine of the fruit of the poisoned tree readily comes to mind here and renders nugatory the veiled, surreptitious attempt to endanger the public interest. If the tree is poisoned, it’s fruit can by no means be sweet but bitter. A good motive for committing a crime doesn’t necessarily absolve the culprit of the guilt and consequences.”
“The truth is that Bayelsa legislators are already comparatively sufficiently provided for under the subsisting remuneration package, and there is no need whatsoever to add a lifetime pension to sweeten the deal and enhance their exit package when the state civil servants are hardly well catered for, unemployment rate is hitting the roof and the lack of critical infrastructure such as power and industrial expansion has stifled development and brought the state practically to its knees. What with the backlog of gratuities of retirees and unpaid salaries of local government workers.”
“If the legislators strongly feel that they deserve to be included in monthly pensions then by the same token they must pass social security laws to enhance the welfare of the unemployed, physically challenged, bursary allowances and scholarships funding for tertiary students, the widows, single parents and all economically disadvantaged segment of the population.”
“The heightened social tension resulting from this melodramatic theatre of the absurd is steadily building to a deafening crescendo and Governor Seriake Dickson must, without bathing an eyelid, throw this putrefying bill to where it rightly belongs; the stinking dustbin of history.”
“Unless something is done urgently to reverse this mindless rape of our commonwealth, the unsettling equal and opposite reaction could be that Bayelsans could be forced to take to the streets to register their displeasure and deploy every legitimate means to ensure its abrogation.”
Breaking: NJC Approves Buhari’s Request To Extend Tenure Of Acting CJN Tanko Muhammad
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to extend the tenure of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad.
The council in a statement by its Director Information, Soji Oye, stated that the approval followed several deliberations during a meeting which was held last week Thursday.
Mr Oye noted that contrary to reports that the NJC was going to meet next week on the extension of Justice Muhammad’s tenure, the council, however, meet on April 18, 2019, which resolved to the approval of his extension.
“The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to an online newspaper and daily newspaper Report stating that the Council would meet next week to deliberate on the extension of the Acting Appointment of Honourable Dr Justice I. T. Muhammad CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“Contrary to the above, the Council actually met on Thursday 18th April 2019 and at the 88thMeeting 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”.