Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has slammed a seven-day ultimatum on both the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko to respond to petitions against them.
In addition, the council further referred to the petition against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) for consideration.
The decision of the council was reached at the end of its emergency meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, under the chairmanship of retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi.
The meeting, which was held without Justices Onnoghen and Tanko, considered four petitions filed at its secretariat.
The petitions are those against Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education, petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, petition against Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, and petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.
At the end of its deliberations, the council referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Soji Oye, confirmed the position of the NJC.
It reads: “The National Judicial Council held an emergency meeting today and considered four (4) petitions filed at its secretariat.
“In line with its procedure, the council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, and I. T. Muhammad, to them for their responses.
“In view of the gravity of the matters involved, council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.
“Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON, and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR excused themselves from the meeting. Consequently, the council elected Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, former President of the Court of Appeal as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.
Council will reconvene on the 11th February 2019.”