FORMER, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), on Thursday filed a suit against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Onnoghen was controversially suspended from office on January 25 by President Buhari over allegation of non- declaration of assets.
The president immediately swore in Justice Tanko Muhammad to replace Onnoghen in an acting capacity.
Agbakoba, in his suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos, stated that Onnoghen’s suspension by the president was illegal.
The suit urges the court to overturn the decision of the president, while the second defendant listed in the suit is the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The affidavit filed in support of the suit, reads, “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,” it reads.
The Senate had earlier filed a similar suit before the Supreme Court, contending that Onnoghen’s suspension by Buhari was not procedural as it did not have the input of the two-thirds majority of the Senate.
The Senate, withdrew the suit this week from the apex court, saying it would allow the NJC to deal with the issues.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.