The National Judicial Council (NJC) has disclosed its list of recommendations at the end of the emergency meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The emergency meeting was convened to address the issue of the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the swearing in of Justice Tanko Ibrahim Muhammad as the acting CJN.
President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended Onnoghen last Friday on a directive of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, before whom Onnoghen is standing trial over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets. Buhari also appointed Muhammad as the acting CJN.
However, a statement by Soji Oye, the NJC Director of Information, listed the recommendations of the council at the end of the Tuesday meeting on the matter.
According to the statement, the NJC “Gives Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR seven (7) working days to respond to petitions; refers petition against CCT Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar, to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC)”.
Four petitions were filed at the NJC secretariat, which were considered at the meeting. The petitions are: “Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education; petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR, by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative; petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.”
The NJC referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), as the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.
The statement continued: “In line with its procedure, Council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I.T. Muhammad, CFR 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."
Onnoghen and Muhammad recused themselves from the meeting and the Council elected Honourable Justice Umaru Abdullahi, former President of the Court of Appeal, as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.
The NJC will reconvene on February 11, 2019.