Former President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has petitioned Justice Tanko Muhammed, whose appointment as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has been inundated with controversies.
The petition which he did to the National Judicial Council (NJC) was made available to newsmen on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last Friday suspended Walter Onnoghen over an alleged asset declaration offence and appointed Muhammed to act as CJN.
Agbakoba in his petition said, “On 25th of January 2019 President Mohammadu Buhari pursuant to an exparte order of the Code of the Conduct Tribunal purportedly suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghnen and purportedly swore in Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“The Constitution is clear about the procedure for suspending or removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed on the recommendation of the NJC. See Section 153 (1), Paragraph 21 (a) of the 3rd Schedule and Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999and the Supreme Court decisioninElelu-Habeeb v AGF (2012) 40 WRN 1.
“Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed is fully aware of the state of law, yet presented himself to be sworn in by the President. Incidentally, Justice Tanko Mohammed was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia state High Court for accepting to be sworn in as Chief Judge by the Governor of Abia State without the recommendation of the NJC.
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“It is a matter of regret that Justice Tanko Mohammed who participated in this process will lend himself to this constitutional infraction. We pray the NJC to determine this petition in line with the decision in Justice Obisike Orji by immediately removing Justice Tanko Mohammed as Justice of the Supreme Court on grounds of gross misconduct which has generated perhaps the most controversial crisis in Nigeria’s judicial history.”
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