Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria who was recently suspended from the post by President Muhammadu Buhari, will challenge his suspension in court on Monday. Onnoghen was suspended on Friday based on an ex parte order granted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The President claimed that the CJN’s suspension is in line with the Federal Government’s stand against corruption.
Mr. Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed has been appointed as the acting CJN. The suspension has sparked outrage across Nigeria with many describing the top judge’s removal as a violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
According to a report coming from The Punch, a senior advocate, who is a member of Onnoghen’s legal team, told the publication that challenging the President’s order had become necessary as the CJN’s suspension was unprecedented.
“We will be going to court to challenge the suspension of the CJN,” the advocate told the Punch. “The President relied on a CCT order despite the fact that the Court of Appeal had restrained all parties from removing the chief justice.”
He pointed out that Onnoghen was not even served with the court processes before he was removed by the President. The advocate added the documents will be made public once the processes are filed.
When asked why the CJN waited for three days before challenging his removal, the advocate from Onnoghen’s legal team said, “He was suspended late on Friday and you know courts do not sit on Saturday and Sunday.”
Onnoghen is facing six counts of false assets declaration filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
President Buhari is scheduled to have a meeting with the APC governors ahead of the Senate emergency resumption on Tuesday. Decisions are expected to be taken on Onnoghen’s suspension by the President in the meeting which is going to be held at the Banquet Hall.