Civil Rights lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the suit he filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Agbakoba said Onnoghen’s suspension by the President is illegal, asking the court to overturn it.
The NJC is the second defendant in the case.
In an affidavit he filed in support of his suit, the former NBA president said, “I know that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 provides for the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and that the Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council or an address by the President supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
“I am fully aware that contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, the President suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, based on an exparte order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal on the 25th of January 2019.”
President Buhari had “unlawfully” suspended Onnoghen as the CJN on January 25 over allegations of non-declaration of assets.
Justice Tanko Muhammad was swiftly sworn in to replace Onnoghen as acting CJN in a move seen by many as politically motivated.