Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr Walter Onnoghen, will on Monday (today) challenge his suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari in court.
This is just as National Judicial Council’s 88th meeting in Abuja has been delayed following fears of a possible clash between supporters of Onnoghen and acting CJN, Mr Tanko Mohammed.
A senior advocate, who is a member of Onnoghen’s legal team, told one of our correspondents that it had become necessary to do so as the suspension of a CJN by a President was unprecedented.
He said, “We will be going to court to challenge suspension of the CJN. The President relied on a CCT order despite that Court of Appeal had restrained all parties from removing the chief justice.
“CJN was not even served with the court processes before he was removed by the President. So, all these will be challenged in court. When the processes have been filed, the documents will be made public.”
When asked why CJN waited for three days before challenging his removal, the source said, “He was suspended late on Friday and you know courts do not sit on Saturday and Sunday.”
NJC holds emergency meeting Tuesday
Meanwhile, National Judicial Council has fixed an emergency meeting for Tuesday (tomorrow) in Abuja by 10am.
The meeting, one of our correspondents learnt, was called over the Friday suspension of Onnoghen by President Buhari.
Spokesperson for NJC, Mr Soji Oye, confirmed the meeting in a statement on Sunday night.
He said the notice of the meeting had already been sent by Secretary of the council, Mr Ahmed Saleh, to members.
“The meeting will hold on Tuesday and notice has been sent to members. I can confirm this to you. It is different from the rumour that was in circulation before that a meeting had been fixed for Monday,” Oye said.
In a related development, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has called a meeting for Wednesday.
In a statement issued on Sunday by National President of JUSUN, Mr Marwan Adamu, the union said it would deliberate on happenings in the Judiciary and take a stand after the meeting.
Adamu described the situation in the Judiciary as unfortunate, insisting that the independence of the Judiciary as enshrined in the constitution “is non-negotiable.”