By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has extended the appointment of Justice Tanko Muhammad as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by three months.

The Council’s decison was in response to a request by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the extension of the appointment of Justice Muhamad.

The decison extending Muhammad’s appointment, according to a statement from the council, was reached on Thursday April 18, 2019, at the Council’s 88 meeting.

The statement however cleared the air on reports by an online newspaper and a daily newspaper to the extent that the body would be meeting next week to take a decision on Muhamad’s appointment as Acting CJN.

The statement signed by NJC’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, read, “The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to an online newspaper and daily newspaper Report stating that the Council would meet next week to deliberate on the extension of the Acting Appointment of Honourable Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“Contrary to the above, the Council actually met on Thursday 18th April, 2019 and at the 88th Meeting considered and approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the extension of the Appointment of Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria for another three (3) months and Council has since forwarded its approval to the President.

President Buhari had on January 25, acting on the orders of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), swore in Justice Muhammad as Acting CJN.

The same CCT while ruling on an exparte application by the Federal Government had ordered the President to suspend the CJN, Walter Onnoghen, pending the determination of his trial at the CCT over breach of Code of Conduct for public officers.

The CCT however in its Judgment delivered last Thursday April 18, 2019, convicted Onnoghen on all six count charge of false asset declaration and ordered Onnoghen’s removal from office as CJN.

Onnoghen had on April 4, ,2019, sent his notice of retirement to the president.

Onnoghen’s tenure was supposed to have expired December 2020 when he would have attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.