Monday, March 18, 2019

Buhari Didn’t Need NJC To Appoint Me -Acting CJN

The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari does not need the permission of the National Judicial Council to appoint him as the acting CJN.

Muhammad made the claim in response to a query given to him by the NJC, the body constitutionally empowered to recommend the appointment of chief justices and heads of courts.

A group, Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, had written a petition to the NJC, asking the council to remove Muhammad as a justice of the Supreme Court for allowing himself to be sworn in by the President without recourse to the NJC.


In his response, however, Justice Muhammad said the NJC ought to be consulted only when a substantive CJN is being appointed or re-appointed.

He said, “In my respectful view, the National Judicial Council has no role to play in the appointment of an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in the first instance, that is to say on first appointment. The council comes in where the appointment as the acting CJN is to be renewed or extended. I humbly refer to Section 231(4) of the 1999 Constitution.”

Muhammad noted that Justice Walter Onnoghen remained the substantive CJN, adding that the latter was only suspended.

The acting CJN said if the Appeal Court or the Code of Conduct Tribunal reversed Onnoghen’s suspension, he would immediately step aside and return to his former position as a justice of the Supreme Court.

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