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Onnoghen as acting CJN sends bad signs – Chief Ekwunoh

By Bartholomew Madukwe

A human rights lawyer, Chief Morah Ewunoh, has said the appointment of Justice Walter Onnoghen as acting, and not substantive, Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, will negatively affect the government and drastically erode public confidence in the judiciary.

Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen taking the oath of office before the President  at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi ADESHIDA 10/11/2016
Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen taking the oath of office before the President at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi ADESHIDA 10/11/2016

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari recently swore in Justice Onnoghen as the new CJN, in acting capacity, to replace Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who bowed out from office on attaining the compulsory retirement age of 70 years.

Chief Ekwunoh pointed out that the appointment of Justice Onnoghen by President Buhari as acting CJN was the first since amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 and had raised serious, fundamental and worrisome questions.

He, therefore, urged the government to forward the name of Justice Onnoghen, being the most senior, sound and untainted justice of the Supreme Court, to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN.

He said: “As already awash in the print, electronic and social media, political, ethnic and religious protagonists have ascribed variegated interpretations and colourations to the appointment, only in acting capacity.”

 


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