The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, will on Monday (today) ask a high court to set aside his unlawful suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari.
One of Onnoghen’s lawyers, a senior advocate, who does not want his name mentioned, disclosed this to the Punch, saying 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 the suspension of the CJN. The President relied on a CCT order despite the fact that the Court of Appeal had restrained all parties from removing the chief justice.
“The 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 the 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.”
Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has fixed an emergency meeting for Tuesday (tomorrow) in Abuja by 10am to discuss the suspension of Onnoghen by President Buhari.
NJC spokesperson, Soji Oye, confirmed the meeting in a statement on Sunday night.
Also the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has called a meeting for Wednesday.
In a statement on Sunday by the National President of JUSUN, Marwan Adamu, the union said it would deliberate on the happenings in the Judiciary and take a stand after the meeting.
He described the situation in the Judiciary as unfortunate, insisting that the independence of the Judiciary as enshrined in the constitution “is non-negotiable.”
Mr. Onnoghen was illegally suspended on Friday by President Buhari based on a strange ex parte order granted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
He is facing six counts of false assets declaration filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The constitution of Nigeria gives the NJC the monopoly to sanction judicial officers and also to recommend their sack or suspension.
Onnoghen’s suspension has been widely condemned by Nigerians and the international community.
The Nigerian Senate has called back its members from election recess for a session on Tuesday to deliberate what Senate President, Buhola Saraki called Mr. Buhari’s gross misconduct in sacking the NJC without due process.
The body of lawyers in the country, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has also summoned an emergency NEC meeting for today (Monday), and sources told CHECKPOINTCHARLEY that lawyers plan protest the unawful removal of the CJN.