NJC postpones decision on Onnoghen, Muhammad, slams fresh query on embattled CJN

February 11th, 2019

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

There appears to be no respite for the embattled Chief Jus­tice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, as the Nation­al Judicial Council (NJC), on Mon­day disclosed that it had issued a fresh query to the suspended CJN.

The council revealed that a pe­tition was lodged before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Justice On­noghen over allegations border­ing on illicit financial transactions.

In a statement by NJC’s Di­rector of Information, Barr. Soji Oye, the council after an emergen­cy meeting yesterday, to consider earlier petitions against Justice On­noghen and the Acting CJN, Jus­tice Tanko Mohammad, decided to adjourn till Wednesday.

It would be recalled that Pres­ident Muhammadu Buhari had recently suspended Justice On­noghen from office, following charges of false assets declarations that were filed against the embat­tled CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Following a national outrage that trailed Onnoghen’s suspen­sion, the petition that gave rise to the CJN’s travails were referred to the NJC for consideration with a view to meting out appropriate sanctions in the event that the pe­tition finds merit.

The NJC had given Justices Onnoghen and Tanko seven days to reply to the earlier queries.

In the press statement Oye stated: “The National Judicial Council reconvened today in an Emergency Meeting to consider the responses of Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR to the three petitions writ­ten against them.

“Members resolved to consti­tute into the Preliminary Com­plaints Assessment Committee in accordance with Regulation 17 of the National Judicial Council Judicial Discipline Regulations, 2017 and report to Council on the 13th of February 2019.

“The Council will recon­vene on Wednesday, 13th Feb­ruary, 2019.

“Council also received a new petition written by the Econom­ic and Financial Crimes Com­mission (EFCC) against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and forwarded it to him for his response within seven (7) working days.

“Council reaffirmed its confi­dence in Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON and continues under his Interim Chairman­ship”.

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