(Updated) NJC Gives Onnoghen, Muhammad 7 Days to Respond to Petitions

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By Tobi Soniyi in Lagos and Alexander Enumah in Abuja

*Refers Petition against CCT Chairman to FJSC

*To reconvene February 11

The National Judicial Council has given the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, seven days to response to petitions written against them.

A statement by the council’s Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, said the decision to query the two senior jurists were taken during an emergency meeting held at the council’s chambers in Abuja on Tuesday.

Oye said that the petition against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, was referred to the
Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

The statement read: “The National Judicial Council held an Emergency Meeting today and considered four (4) petitions filed at its Secretariat. The petitions are:

“Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education;

“Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative;

“Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and

“Petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.

“Council referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.

“In line with its procedure, Council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I. T. Muhammad, CFR to them for their responses.

“In view of the gravity of the matters involved, Council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.

Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR recused themselves from the meeting. Consequently, Council elected Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, former President of the Court of Appeal as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.

Council will reconvene on the 11th February, 2019.”