How Buhari Obtained CCT Jankara Judgement That Sacked CJN Onnoghen
In years past when landlords want to quit tenants, they go behind their backs, hire people to appear in court as their tenants.
The fake tenants admit to all wrongs and the court issues the landlords orders to vacate the real tenants who aren’t aware of the law suits against them. They’re evicted on the basis of the Jankara orders
Barrister Abiodun Owonikoko SAN wrote:
“I was at that Code of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday. I witnessed the entire argument and ruling of the majority and minority members. An oral application for interim injunction to order the CJN to vacate his seat in the interim and direct the President to appoint Justice Tanko as acting CJN was moved by prosecution counsel.
“The CJN counsel led by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN opposed the application citing the fact that the court having acknowledged objection to its jurisdiction, cannot make any interim order.
“The Tribunal brevi manu corrected the prosecution about his misconceptions that they could temporarily order removal of CJN pending trial. It was thereafter that they ruled against him in emphatic terms.
“The Tribunal unanimously rejected the application before adjourning the matter to next week Tuesday for hearing of the Objection first; and that if overruled; then to proceed with the motion by prosecution seeking to remove and replace the CJN pending trial of the six count charge.
“It must then mean that after the Tribunal adjourned, the chairman was approached behind the back of the parties and he granted ex parte order which is a reversal of his ruling in the open court the day before.
“In other words, it sat on appeal in chambers without hearing the CJN or his lawyers and reversed its decision rendered in open court.
“Even the Supreme Court (the final and only infallible court in the land) cannot assume such power of inviolability and self-reversal in the same case unless satisfied that the earlier ruling was a nullify.
“It will nevertheless only do so, after hearing both sides”.
Late yesterday, the full text of the President’s statement at the swearing in of Tanko Mohammed JSC was released. The first paragraph of his statement struck me. Why?
The President didn’t act on any of the following sections of the constitution: 153, 157 ( I think section 157 has been amended), 158, 292, parts 1 and 2 of the of 3rd schedule. I’ll come to section 157 later- it is a dangerous section.
The President said he was acting on the directive of the Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal dated 23 January 2019. For us to understand the absurdity of the President’s claim, we need to go back to 22 January 2019.
On 22 January 2019 when the case against CJN Onnoghen was last heard at the CCT, two issues were raised before tribunal. 1) The Motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal; 2) Motion for the Suspension of CJN.
On that day 22 January, Aliyu Umar told the Tribunal that his motion for suspension has been served and ready to be moved. The Tribunal told him that until the motion on jurisdiction is moved, he can’t move his. CCT adjourned to 28 January
for the CCT to hear the motion challenging its jurisdiction, then subsequently hear the motion for suspension. Two things we need to understand here about both motions.
1) Both motions are on notice, which means that the prosecution and defendants must be heard whenever they are moved. They’re consistent with the Rule of Fair Hearing- hear the other party.
2) They cannot be converted into ex parte motions (motions in which only one party is heard) once the other parties have been served or have become aware of the existence
Now, this is where the basis in which the President suspended CJN Onnoghen becomes illegal and unlawful and his action ultra vires. Here 》》》
Once a court’s jurisdiction is challenged by a party, the only jurisdiction the court has is to determine if indeed it has jurisdiction. No more.
When the CCT adjourned on 22 January to hear the motion challenging its jurisdiction on 28 January, it then had no jurisdiction to issue the late Justice Ikpeme-type ex parte order the President acted on
Further, once the defendant had been served and had become aware of the motion for suspension, the ex parte motion (hear one side) became an abuse of legal process and a violation of Section 36 (3) & (6) CFRN 1999.
Further, too, the motion for suspension was not brought under any specific rule of the Tribunal or sections of the constitution. The reference to the “inherent jurisdiction of this tribunal” stated in the ex parte motion is dubious
Section 6(6) (a) CFRN 1999 vests inherent jurisdiction on courts created under Section 6(5) and the CCT being not a creation of Section 6 (5) cannot claim “inherent jurisdiction under the constitution ”
The ex parte order doesn’t state who moved the motion in which the order was granted. Lawyers know that it is the practice that motions must be moved before the court makes an Order. Who moved the motion?
The order the President acted ultra vires is clearly the typical JANKARA order of yesteryears.
You see the President procured a Jankara order to suspend CJN Onnoghen. Worse still, it was done after the CCT had adjourned by a week. Perhaps it was obtained in the night, Justice Ikpeme-style.
Finally, I’m not sure if section 157 has been amended. I will look it up. It is a dangerous section as the President has the power to remove the Chairman NJC. Albeit by an address supported by 2/3 of Senate. Who’s NJC Chairman? CJN.
A very dangerous precedent indeed.
Finally, I agree with Solana Olumnhese who wrote:
“By unilaterally suspending the CJN and having him replaced, therefore, Buhari demonstrates either that he has not read the constitution; or that, having read it, he does not understand it; or that, understanding it, he does not care about it.
“Whatever it is, he has gambled on the silence or indifference of Nigerians who care about Nigeria.”
By Ogbuefi Ndigbo