What the law says on the removal of the CJN
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Lawyers has described the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari as a coup against the nation’s democracy and rule of law.
This is what the 1999 Constitution says on a case like Onoghe’s:
(1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances:-
(a) in the case of:-
(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief of Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State.
Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;
(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, BY THE PRESIDENT OR, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct OR CONTRAVENTION OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT