The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has filed a motion before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), asking the court to remove Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, as the CJN and as the chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Mr. Onnoghen is accused of failing to declare his assets and the Federal government argued that his removal as NJC chairman has become necessary so that Onnoghen is not a judge in his own cause.
In the motion filed by Musa Ibrahim and Fatima Danjuma Ali, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation on Thursday, the Federal Govt is asking that the next in line of seniority, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, be named the acting CJN pending the determination of the substantive case.
The plaintiff further requested the court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to name the next most senior Supreme court judge as the acting CJN and chairman of the NJC.
This next move to remove Onnoghen comes after the National Industrial Court, Abuja, had on Monday, pursuant to a motion ex-parte filed by Mr Peter Abang, restrained the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, the AGF, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the police from removing Onnoghen.
Recall that Nigeria’s Opposition parties, under the umbrella Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), had on Friday said they have uncovered a plot by the Buhari government to arrest the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Tuesday and immediately name Justice Tanko Muhammed as acting CJN.
Nigerian most senior lawyers, civil soceities, and majority of Nigerians continue to condemn the desperate attempt by the Buhari government to remove the CJN, saying it is politically motivated.
They accuse the government of plotting to install a “friendly” CJN in view of the petitions that the 2019 generla elections would generate.
Buhari’s challenger in next month’s presidential election, Mr. Atiku Abubakar had warned Mr. Buhari against throwing the nation into a constitutional crisis with the move to remove Mr. Onnoghen.