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Buhari, Acting CJN, Ors To Appear In Court Over Onnoghen

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been summoned to appear before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja over the removal of the former Chief Judge of Nigeria [CJN], Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Justice Ekwo gave the summon on Friday following a suit filed by a civil rights lawyer, Malcolm Omirhobo of the Omirhobo Foundation.

Also to appear before the honourable court are:

  1. Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad,
  2. The Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC),
  3. The Federal Government of the Republic of Nigeria,
  4. The Attorney General of the Federation,
  5. The Senate, as well as others.

The defendants are to appear before the court to answer questions over the removal of former CJN Onnoghen.

While giving the directive, the judge said:

“I have perused the processes in the ex parte and affidavits attached. I am of the opinion that none of the prayers can be granted by ex parte application”.

Besides questions about the removal of Onnoghen, the plaintiff also asked the court to restrain President Buhari and others from initiating the confirmation of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammad.

Omirhobo further prayed the court to determine whether by sections 1(1)(2), 231(4) (a) (i)(b), 153(1) and Paragraph 21(a)(b) Part I of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, the office of the CJN was vacant as at 25th January, 2019 to warrant the swearing in of Justice Muhammad as Acting CJN.

If the answer is negative, he, therefore, wants the court to make a declaration that, “the third defendant (Justice Muhammad) having conducted himself in a manner that casted doubt of confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary and having made himself as tool used in the violation of the Constitution of Nigeria is not a fit and proper person to be recommended by the 2nd defendant (FJSC) to the 1st defendant (NJC), and by the 1st defendant to the 5th defendant (the President) for appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Justice Ekwo adjourned the case to May 13 for hearing.

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