Suspend indefinitely CJN’s Arraignment, NBA Tells Buhari
The NIC had earlier on January 15 restrained the CCT from proceeding with the trial before adjourning till January 22 for the hearing of motion on notice.
At the resumed sitting yesterday, the NIC renewed its restraining order against the CCT.
The reinforcement of the order followed an ex-parte application moved by the claimant’s counsel, James Igwe (SAN), who said there was difficulty in serving the CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, the court’s papers personally.
The only defendant at the hearing yesterday was the National Judicial Council (NJC) represented by Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN).
However, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has demanded an end to the trial of the CJN.
The lawyers’ union asked the federal government to discontinue the trial and “follow the rule of law.”
In its statement, the NBA argued that only through the Senate can the presidency remove Justice Onnoghen.
“Ahead of the scheduled resumption of proceedings at the CCT tomorrow (today), January 22, 2019, the NBA again calls on the executive branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria to discontinue forthwith the prosecution of the CJN, Justice Onnoghen, before the CCT, the NBA said in the statement signed by its President, Paul Usoro.
The NBA said it was obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is bent on removing Justice Onnoghen from office, but added that the presidency can only achieve the alleged objective, through the support of the Senate.
“Having become obvious that the immediate goal of the Executive is to remove the CJN from office, we urge the government to follow due process in attaining that goal.
“Due process is not followed when the executive branch of government files an interlocutory motion before the CCT for the removal of the CJN.
“Such an application disparages, and assaults due process as enshrined in Section 292(1)(a)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) (“the Constitution”).
“The said Section is very explicit on the due process for the CJN’s removal when it stipulates as follows: S.292(1)(a)(i) “A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances
. . . in the case of . . . Chief Justice of Nigeria . . . by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.”
According to the NBA, the law does not permit the current measures adopted by the government to remove the CJN.
It added that any attempt to remove Justice Onnoghen would imply that the CJN was treated order than a judicial officer.