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Despite resignation, Buhari to determine Onnoghen’s fate

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
DESPITE his sudden resignation last week, President Muhammadu Buhari is to determine whether to accept the resignation of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, or sack him from office based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC.

Onnoghen
Justice Walter Onnoghen and President Buhari

Onnoghen is said to have turned in his resignation letter to the Presidency last Thursday as soon as the NJC decided to forward its recommendation to the President rather than issue a statement to the media at the end of its meeting, as has always been the practice.

But Vanguard learned last night that President Buhari was determined to take ‘urgent and concrete’ action on the Onnoghen matter to serve as a deterrent to other top government officials who use their offices to engage in untoward activities.
Buhari is expected to make a pronouncement on Onnoghen as soon as he returns from the Middle East where he had gone to attend several meetings bordering on investments and security.

A top government official, who spoke in confidence with Vanguard, yesterday, said it was left for Buhari to accept the resignation of Onnoghen and allow him to be accorded with all the perks associated with the office of the CJN or sack him for misconduct and make him to lose all his entitlements as a top judicial officer, including a retirement mansion in Abuja.

“But one thing you can be sure of is that Buhari will not shield Onnoghen from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which has already drawn up a case against him,” the top official said.

Plot to sack Magu thickens

But while Ibrahim Magu and EFCC appear to have succeeded in ousting Onoghen, powerful hawks in the government who feel threatened by his rising influence in the system, have launched a renewed bid to edge him out of office before May 2019.

The anti-Magu movement, which comprises top government officials in the executive, National Assembly and some powerful outgoing governors with corruption cases standing against them, are of the feeling that allowing him to stay in office with Buhari in his second term, would make him ‘too powerful’ to control.

The forces arrayed against Magu are of the view that the senior police officer, who had escaped being removed many times, is likely to be confirmed as substantive EFCC chairman if allowed to remain in office given the clear fact that the All Progressives Congress, APC, now has majority in the National Assembly and with a possible friendly leadership.

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The outgoing politically-exposed persons are said to be jittery that Magu was likely to go after them once they leave office next month and must therefore be stopped.

The anti-Magu forces are said to have decided to embark on a smear campaign that would make Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, who has been seen as his sustaining power, to abandon him and a new police officer, picked to continue with the anti-corruption war.

One of the allegations being used by the enemies of Magu is that he was not loyal to the Buhari administration and that he is working against the APC interest in 2023.

Yes, Onnoghen resigned yesterday – Awomolo

When Vanguard contacted the Special Adviser to Magu on Media and Publicity, Tony Amokeodo, he denied knowledge of the renewed plot to remove his boss.

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