President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28, 2019 and has also appointed five new supreme court Justices. A statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement reported the President as thanking Onnoghen for his service to the country and wished him the best of retirement life.
Onnoghen’s trials for false assets declaration started when a petition was filed by the civil rights group at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), alleging that he owned sundry accounts.
It alleged the accounts were primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as Aug. 10, 2016, which appeared to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.
The trial began on Jan. 14 at Code of Conduct Tribunal but Onnoghen was absent.
On Feb. 11, the council set up a preliminary complaints assessment committee to review the responses given to it by Onnoghen, and Muhammad who is acting in his stead.
Onnoghen is accused of failing to fully declare his assets, while Muhammad is facing allegations of misconduct.
The NJC said it reconvened and resolved to constitute into the Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committee in accordance with Regulation 17 of the National Judicial Council Judicial Discipline Regulations, 2017.
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.
Shehu said 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.” – (NAN)
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