Supreme Court Strikes Out Appeal Seeking the Review of Ex-CJN Onnoghen’s Removal

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CJN Walter Onnoghen

The Supreme Court on Monday struck out a suit seeking the review of the constitutionality of the removal of the immediate-past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen via an ex parte order issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

President Muhammadu Buhari, acting on a controversial ex parte order of the CCT, had on January 25, 2019 suspended Onnoghen.

The then CJN was prosecuted before the CCT on charges of non-declaration of assets by the Federal Government.

He voluntarily resigned from office some about two weeks before he was convicted by the tribunal on April 18.

On Monday, an appeal filed by Dr. Samuel Nwawka seeking the review of circumstances leading to Onnoghen’s removal came up before the apex court.

Nwawka, who claimed that the two lower courts had refused to hear his suit, had invoked section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to determine constitutional questions relating to the manners the Federal Government caused Justice Onnoghen’s removal as CJN through an ex-parte application at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

But Nwawka and his lawyers were absent.

The respondents’ lawyers too were absent from court on Monday.

The development prompted the five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour to strike out the suit.

The respondents to the appeal were the Federal Government, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, the incumbent CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Muhammed Isah; the Chairman of CCT Danladi Umar, and Umar and a member of the CCT, Julie Anabor.

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Nwawka had claimed in his suit that Umar and Anabor were the ones who issued the ex parte order.

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal in a ruling delivered in May this year said the ex parte order was “shrouded in secrecy and clandestine manoeuvre”.

The Punch

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