Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The process of appointing a new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has commenced, with the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) recommending Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for further recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari.
A source at the meeting, who confided in THISDAY, said the decision to recommend Onnoghen was informed by the need to ensure that there is no vacancy when Justice Mahmud Mohammed retires on November 10.
The incumbent CJN will retire from the bench when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Justice Onnoghen was born on December 22, 1950 at Okurike Town, Biase Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State.
He attended the Presbyterian Primary School, Okurike Town between 1959 and 1965.
He proceeded to Accra, Ghana, to attend Odorgorno Secondary School, Adabraka between 1967 and 1972 and sat for his West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams.
He was at the Accra Academy, Accra, Ghana between 1972 and 1974 for his WAEC A’Levels before proceeding to the University of Ghana (Legon) between 1974 and 1977 to obtain his Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B Hons) and graduated with a 2nd Class Upper Division.
He attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos, between 1977 and 1978 for his B.L certificate.
His previous professional engagements include: Pupil State Counsel, Ministry of Justice, Ikeja, Lagos (1978-1979); Partner in the law firm of Effiom Ekong & Company, Calabar (1979-1988); Principal Partner/Head of Chamber of Walter Onnoghen & Associates, Calabar (1988-1989); High Court Judge, Cross Rivers State Judiciary (1989-1998); Chairman, Cross Rivers State Armed Robbery and Fire Arms Tribunal (1990-1993); Chairman, Judicial Enquiry into the Crisis between Students of the University of Calabar and Obufa Esuk Orok Community, Calabar (1996); Chairman, Failed Banks Tribunal, Ibadan Zone (1998); Judge, High Court of Rivers State (1992-2004); and Justice of the Court of Appeal (1998-2005).
A Fellow, Chattered Institute of Arbitrators, Justice Onnoghen has attended several conferences and seminars around the world.
He is a member of the Body of Bencher and Life Benchers, and was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (JSC) in 2005.