The Federal Government on Thursday reportedly filed a motion before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, seeking the removal of Mr. Walter Onnoghen, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
According to the government, the move to remove Onnoghen is to ensure that he is not a judge in his own case. The FG noted that the next in line of seniority, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, should take over as Acting CJN pending the verdict on the substantive suit against Onnoghen.
The motion was filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), through Musa Ibrahim and Fatima Danjuma Ali.
The FG wants the court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint the next in line as an acting CJN and Chairman of the NJC.
The FG prayed the tribunal for an interlocutory order “directing the defendant/respondent to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and chairman of the National Judicial Council over an allegation of contravening the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act CAP C15 Laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004 pending the determination of the case.
“An interlocutory order of the honourable tribunal directing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take all necessary measures to swear in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court as an acting Chief Justice and chairman of the National Judicial Council in order to prevent a vacuum in the judicial arm of government pending the determination of the case.”
1Push Naija published a report few days ago stating how the National Industrial Court in Abuja ordered the Mr. Danladi Umar, the Chairman of the CCT; Abubakar Malami, the AGF; and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) not to sack Chief Justice Onnoghen.
The Nigerian Government however moved the motion in pursuance of Section 6(6) Paragraph 11(1) of the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).