President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeira (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial at the Code of Condcut Tribunal.
President Buhari announced the suspension at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja today. The swearing was done after the president signed the new Executive Order 007.
He said the suspension followed the order of the CCT directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial.
The President swore in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN. Mohammed who hails from Bauchi state is the most senior justice of the Supreme Court.
Mr Mohammed was driven into the forecourt of the president’s office at about 4:30 p.m. in a black Mercedes Benz C240 with number plate GWA:900FA.
It is not clear yet if the President has the power to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Mr Onnoghen had earlier today announced a plan to swear in members of the various 2019 election petition tribunals on Saturday, January 26. The CJN said this through his media assistant, Awassam Bassey, on Friday.
Mr Onnoghen also described as absolute falsehood, the media reports that he resigned his office, following current allegations against him.
In a statement by Mr Bassey on Friday, the CJN urged Nigerians to disregard the rumour and added that he was still performing his role as CJN.
“There’s absolutely no truth in the rumours making the round that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship Hon. Mr Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has resigned his office. It is fake news!
“The Hon CJN was in the office all through yesterday (Thursday) and sat in court. As part of his duties, the Hon CJN will be swearing in members of the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship & State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals tomorrow (Saturday 26th January 2019),” the statement said.
Mr Onnoghen is facing trial over alleged false asset declaration brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, has also requested that Mr Onnoghen resigns from office, following the various allegations.
The case, currently ongoing at the CCT was adjourned till January 28.
But the Court of Appeal on Thursday ordered the tribunal to suspend sitting, pending the discharge of current applications before it.
The Court of Appeal will give its verdict on the matter on January 30.
The appeals were brought by Mr Onnoghen who wants his trial halted, citing lack of merit.