- Olisa Agbakoba, a former president of NBA, has said that the federal government violated the law by swearing in CJN İbrahim Tanko Muhammed
- Agbakoba said that the National Judicial Council (NJC) should consider the legal standing of Mohammed in accepting his new appointment
- The SAN stressed that the Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed on the recommendation of the NJC
Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), a former head of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Monday, January 28 submitted a petition against new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) İbrahim Tanko Muhammed.
Agbakoba said he submitted his petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC) asking it to determine the legal standing of Mohammed in accepting President Muhammadu Buhari's appointment, Punch reports.
The former NBA boss said that the new acting CJN joined the president to violate the constitution by allowing himself to be sworn in by the executive arm of the federal government.
The SAN recalled that the CJN was part of an NJC panel that sanctioned Justice Obisike Orji of Abia for allowing himself to be sworn-in as the state chief judge by the then governor without the recommendation of the council.
“It is a matter of regret that Justice Tanko Muhammad, who participated in this process, will lend himself to this constitutional infraction.
“We pray the NJC to determine this petition in line with the decision in Justice Obisike Orji by immediately removing Justice Tanko Muhammad as Justice of the Supreme Court on grounds of gross misconduct which has generated perhaps the most controversial crisis in Nigeria’s judicial history," he said.
He maintained that the presidency violated the law in suspending Justice Onnoghen, adding that the constitution (Section 153) is straightforward about the process that must be followed in suspending the CJN.
“The Constitution is clear about the procedure for suspending or removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
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“The Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed on the recommendation of the NJC. See Section 153 (1), Paragraph 21 (a) of the 3rd Schedule and Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the Supreme Court decision in Elelu-Habeeb v AGF (2012) 40 WRN 1.
“Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammad is fully aware of the state of law, yet presented himself to be sworn in by the President,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the NBA on Friday, January 25, decried the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, and referred to it as a coup against the judiciary.
The NBA, through its president, Paul Usoro, in a statement made available to Legit.ng, equated the move by the federal government to the suspension of the nation's constitution, adding that the appointment of the new acting CJN, Ibrahim Tanko cannot be upheld.
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