- The NJC may resort to the dismissal of Justices Walter Onnoghen and Tanko Mohammed
- This presumed move by the council would be focused on ending the growing crisis within the judiciary
- Also, should the NJC dismiss both justices, the council would recommend Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court as a new CJN
Following the recent suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari, there are indications that the National Judicial Council may sack both the embattled CJN and the newly nominated CJN, Tanko Mohammed.
Guardian reports that the NJC after an emergency meeting had abridge the usual 14 working days notice to issue to Onnoghen a seven-day ultimatum to respond to series of petition against him.
The council also mandated Mohammed to respond to the allegations of corruption and professional misconduct levelled against them within a-week.
The duo were also excluded from the meeting because they are both involved in the crisis leading to the election of a former president of the Court of Appeal Umaru Abdullahi as an interim chairman over the meeting.
It was also gathered that if NJC sanction Onnoghen and the new CJN with dismissal, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court - who is not a member of the NJC - will probably assume the position of the CJN.
Rhodes-Vivour's appointment, Legit.ng gathered would follow a recommendation from the NJC which had to abridge the timing based on the interim order which President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mohammed.
However, if the order expires, there will be the need for a fresh order to continue to keep him in office, as vacancy must be forestalled as the constitution does not allow anyone occupying the office of the CJN in acting capacity cannot be reappointed by the president if he fails to get the Senate confirmation at the expiration of three months.
Section 231 (1) of the 1999 Constitution states: “The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.”
Subsection 4 provides that: “If the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding has resumed those functions, the President shall appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions.”
“Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed," Subsection 5 states.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Centre for International and Strategy Studies, has commended President Buhari on the suspension of Onnoghen.
The CISS breaking its long silence on the controversy rocking the presidency and the judiciary said President Buhari's action against the CJN was a right step in the right direction.
CISS president, David Bamidele, aid the suspension of the CJN, Justice Onnoghen by President Buhari in compliance with the order of the CCT was not only reasonable and timely, but necessary to salvage the partly battered image of the Nigerian judiciary.
According to Bamidele, the president's decision was to protect democracy from the class of the few bad characters in the judicial and political system.
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