Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has made a shocking revelation against the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Muhammed, in a petition submitted to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Baclad TV News agent reported that President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen as the nation’s judicial officer and appointed Justice Muhammed as the acting CJN.
But in a statement from his chambers on Monday, Agbakoba said he submitted the petition to the NJC because Justice Muhammed allowed himself to constitutional infraction by the executive by submitting himself to be sworn-in as acting CJN.
The Senior Advocate asked the NJC to determine the propriety of Justice Mohammed accepting to be sworn-in by the President in place of the suspended CJN, Justice Onnoghen.
Agbakoba recalled that Justice Muhammed was part of an NJC panel that sanctioned Justice Obisike Orji of Abia State for allowing himself to be sworn-in as Abia State Chief Judge by the state’s governor without the recommendation of the NJC.
Insisting that the President violated the law in suspending Justice Onnoghen, Agbakoba cited Section 153 of the constitution, saying the law was clear on how a CJN could be removed.
Agbakoba said: “On 25th of January 2019 President Mohammadu Buhari pursuant to an exparte order of the Code of the Conduct Tribunalpurportedly suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghnen and purportedly swore in Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“The Constitution is clear about the procedure for suspending or removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed on the recommendation of the NJC. SeeSection 153 (1), Paragraph 21 (a) of the 3rd Schedule and Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999and the Supreme Court decisioninElelu-Habeeb v AGF (2012) 40 WRN 1.
“Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed is fully aware of the state of law, yet presented himself to be sworn in by the President. Incidentally, Justice Tanko Mohammed was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia state High Court for accepting to be sworn in as Chief Judge by the Governor of Abia state without the recommendation of the NJC.
“It is a matter of regret that Justice Tanko Mohammed who participated in this process will lend himself to this constitutional infraction. We pray the NJC to determine this petition in line with the decision in Justice Obisike Orji by immediately removing Justice Tanko Mohammed as Justice of the Supreme Court on grounds of gross misconduct which has generated perhaps the most controversial crisis in Nigeria’s judicial history.”