OrderPaperToday – The National Judicial Council (NJC) has waded into the crisis rocking the judiacial arm of government.
The NJC following its emergency session today resolved to give the suspended Chief Justice of the Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen and the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammed Tanko, 7 days to respond to separate petitions filed against them.
Another petition against the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Umar Danladi filed by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative was referred to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), which the council noted is the appropriate body to deal with the petition.
This is according to the press release signed by Soji Oye (Director Information)
The petition against Onnoghen was filed by Zikirulahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education, while two separate petitions were filed against Justice Tanko by Olisa Agbakoba and another by Centre for justice and peace initiative.
The NJC session ought to be presided over by the CJN, however due to the crisis, the two ‘CJNs’ were exempted from the session, while Justice Umar Abdulahi, the former President Court of Appeal served as interim chairman.
According to the press statement, the NJC disclosed that due to “gravity of the matters involved, Council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to 7 days.”
The NJC adjourned the meeting 11th of February to make a decision.
Olisa Agbakoba who is the Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) submitted his petition on Monday, urging the NJC to determine the propriety of Justice Mohammed accepting to be sworn-in by the President in place of the suspended CJN.
According Agbakoba, “Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammad is fully aware of the state of law, yet presented himself to be sworn in by the President,” adding that “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.”