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Buhari accepts voluntary retirement of Justice Onnoghen

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 President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28, 2019.

This was disclosed in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu on Sunday.

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According to the statement, the President thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished him the best of retirement life.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has written the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, on the appointment of additional five Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The President wrote: ‘‘Pursuant to the provisions of Section 230(2) A&B of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I am pleased to request that you initiate in earnest the process of appointing additional five Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to make the full complement of 21 Justices as provided by the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution.

‘‘This is in line with the Government’s Agenda of repositioning the Judiciary in general and Supreme Court in particular for greater efficiency, with a view to reducing the backlogs of appeals pending at the Supreme Court.

‘‘Please accept, your Lordship, the assurances of my highest regards.’’

Buhari had on January 25 suspended the erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

He said the action followed the order of the CCT directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial.

The President consequently swore in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) subsequently found Onnoghen guilty of false declaration of assets in breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for public officials.

Delivering its judgement, the three-man panel chaired by Danladi Umar said the prosecution proved Onnoghen’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Therefore, it convicted him and removed him from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

It also said Onnoghen is to forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally.

The tribunal also barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.

About Mikail Mumuni