The National Judicial Council (NJC) decided at its emergency meeting in Abuja on Tuesday that both the suspended Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen (CJN) and the acting CJN, Tanko Muhammed have cases to answer.
This was disclosed in a communique released at the end of the NJC meeting.
It stated that Mr. Onnoghen has been given seven days to respond to a petition submitted against him by the office of the attorney-general of the federation.
Mr. Ibrahim Muhammad, the man President Muhammadu Buhari purportedly appointed acting CJN, was also given a seven-day deadline to respond to a petition against him over an alleged breach of NJC rules.
On a petition written against Danladi Umar, the Code of Conduct Tribunal chairman, the council refered it to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), the statement said.
The NJC will reconvene on February 11, 2019 to discuss further actions against the top two judicial officers.
A former President of the Court of Appeal, Umaru Abdullahi, presided over the emergency meeting.
Read below details of the communique signed by Supreme Court spokesperson Soji Oye:
The National Judicial Council held an Emergency Meeting today and considered four (4) petitions filed at its Secretariat. The petitions are:
Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education;
“Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative;
Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and
Petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.
Council referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.
In line with its procedure, Council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I. T. Muhammad, CFR to them for their responses.
In view of the gravity of the matters involved, Council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.
Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR recused themselves from the meeting. Consequently, Council elected Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, former President of the Court of Appeal as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.
Council will reconvene on the 11th February 2019.
Soji Oye, Esq.