By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, fixed July 12 to deliver judgment seeking to sack Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
An advocacy group, Incorporated Trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation, had approached the court, asking it to declare Justice Muhammad unfit to head the judiciary.
The plaintiff, in its suit marked ABJ/CS/420/2019, urged the court to declare that Justice Muhammad, who is currently the most senior jurist at the Supreme Court, was not capable to replace the ousted former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Specifically, the group prayed the court to declare that the Acting CJN, having made himself available as a tool used in the violation of the constitution, especially with regards to the “illegal” removal of the former CJN, was, therefore, not a proper and fit person to be recommended for appointment to head the judiciary.
The plaintiff maintained that the acting CJN conducted himself in a manner that reduced the confidence of the public in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
Cited as 1st to 7th defendants in the suit were National Judicial Council, Federal Judicial Service Commission, Acting CJN, Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation and the Senate.
The plaintiff is, among other things, urging the court to declare that the suspension and/or removal of a CJN from office is a shared responsibility of the 1st defendant (NJC), 5th defendant (Buhari) and 7th defendant (National Assembly).
Aside praying the court to bar President Buhari from appointing Justice Muhammad as the substantive CJN, the plaintiff, in a 65-paragraph affidavit it filed in support of the suit, stressed that unless restrained by the court, the executive arm of government would continue to violate the extant provisions of the constitution and sanctity of the judiciary.
However, the Acting CJN, NJC and AGF, adopted their final briefs of argument, yesterday, even as they urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of merit.
Trial Justice Inyang Ekwo, subsequently, adjourned the matter for judgment.