Onnoghen: Senate withdraws from Supreme Court

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Walter Onnoghen embattled CJN
CJN Walter Onnoghen

Less than 24 hours for the Supreme Court to respond to the suit filed to challenge the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, the senate has withdrawn the suit.

It said it has withdrawn the suit because of the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The Senate had filed a suit at the Supreme Court to seek constitutional advice on the suspension of Justice Onnoghen who was facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for alleged under declaration of assets.

Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Special Adviser to Senate President Bukola Saraki, said in a statement on Monday that the lawmakers decided to discontinue the case at the apex court in order to give the NJC intervention a chance.

“The Senate has, therefore, decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court.

“It should be noted that the case has been slated for hearing tomorrow (Tuesday).

“This decision also affirms the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Justice Onnoghen and appointed Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN on January 25.

The President Buhari had explained that he took the action following an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), pending the completion of Onnoghen’s trial.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had dragged Justice Onnoghen before the Tribunal over allegations of non-declaration of some assets.

Opposition, including those in the Senate were enraged and decided to approach the Supreme Court for succour after it jettisoned plan to re-convene the senate to deliberate on the issue.

The Senate also asked the court to determine whether the action of the President does amount to usurpation of the powers of the Red Chamber, as provided for in Section 292 of the Constitution.

The NJC also held an emergency meeting which was presided over by a former president of the Appeal Court, Justice Umar Abdullahi.

The judicial body gave Justice Onnoghen and Justice Tanko seven working days to respond to different petitions against them.


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