Onnoghen suspended, not removed, FG tells Supreme Court

| August 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

 The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, had not been removed from office but only suspended.

Responding to a suit filed before the apex court by the Cross River State Government, the two respondents argued that Onnoghen was simply suspended to enable him to stand trial on charges of non-declaration of assets instituted against him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, who represented the two respondents, asked the apex court to dismiss the suit which was filed by Cross Rivers State to challenge Onnoghen’s trial and suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reacting to the argument by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Lucius Nwosu (SAN), that Onnoghen’s removal from office by President Muhammadu Buhari was a violation of the Constitution, Apata contended that “there is a clear distinction between suspension and removal.”

Insisting that Onnoghen’s suspension was not arbitrary, Apata said Buhari’s decision to suspend the CJN followed a valid order which Onnoghen himself later appealed.

Apata also argued in his client’s notice of preliminary objection and counter-affidavits that the subject matter did not qualify as a dispute between a state government and the Federal Government to warrant being heard by the apex court.

He said the suit did not disclose any dispute between Cross River State and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the subject matter of the case or the charge pending before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In his argument, the plaintiff’s counsel, Nwosu, urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ objection and grant all the prayers sought by his client.

He added, “The seat of the CJN is an institution specifically established by the Constitution of Nigeria, which also makes it tenured, to the effect that the occupant should stay there until his/her retirement age.

“And the only way he/she can be removed before his/her retirement age has also been stated in the Constitution. This dictates that even if there is any transgression, this procedure must be followed.”

Nwosu argued that the suit before the Supreme Court was not personal to Onnoghen, but meant to cure a violation to the Constitution and to prevent such a violation in the future.

The seven-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour fixed May 27 for judgement.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]


Culled from :Here

We enjoin our readers to send their stories/articles/reports, including pictures to story@riversstatenews.com



Category: Other States News