Court Fixes July 12 For Judgement On Sack Of Ag CJN

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Justice Tanko Muhammad.

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, fixed July 12 to deliver judgement seeking to sack the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
An advocacy group, Incorporated Trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation, had approached the court, asking it to declare Justice Muhammad as unfit to head the judiciary.
The plaintiff, in its suit marked ABJ/CS/420/2019, urged the court to declare that Justice Muhammad who is currently the most senior jurist at the Supreme Court, is not capable to replace the ousted former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Specifically, the group prayed the court to declare that the Acting CJN, having made himself available as a tool that was used in the violation of the Constitution, especially with regards to the “illegal” removal of the former CJN, is therefore not a proper and fit person to be recommended for appointment to head the judiciary.
The plaintiff maintained that the Acting CJN conducted himself in a manner that reduced the confidence of the public in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary.
Cited as 1st to 7th Defendants in the suit were the National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Acting CJN, the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Senate.
The Plaintiff is among other things, urging the court to declare that the suspension and/or removal of a CJN from office, is a shared responsibility of the 1st Defendant (NJC), 5th defendant (Buhari) and 7th Defendant (National Assembly).
It argued that President Buhari lacked the constitutional powers to unilaterally suspend and/or remove a sitting CJN from office, as was done in the case of Onnoghen.
Besides, it prayed the court to declare that by combined interpretation of 2 sections 1(1 )(2), 231(4), 292(1)(a)(i)(b), 153(1)(i), 158(1) and paragraph 21 (a)(b) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, “it is unlawful and undemocratic for the 4th and 5th Defendants (Federal Government and President Buhari), to declare the office of the CJN vacant on January 25, 2019 and consequently appoint and swear in the 3rd Defendant as the acting CJN”.
It applied for a court order to restrain the National Assembly from confirming the appointment of Justice Muhammad as the substantive CJN.
Likewise, for, “An order, compelling the 2nd Defendant (FJSC), to select and the 1st Defendant (NJC), to recommend the most qualified Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria that is fit and proper, to the 5th Defendant, for appointment to office of the CJN, and for the confirmation of the 7th Defendant with a two third majority vote”.