President Mohammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and appointed Justice Tanko Mohammed as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
President Buhari’s sack followed the ruling of The Court of Appeal, which ordered the Code of Conduct Tribunal to suspend the trial of Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, till the determination of appeals at the appellate court. The order was handed down by a three-member panel of the court led by Abdul Aboki gave the order on Thursday after hearing from parties in a current appeal pending before the court. The court also adjourned its main ruling on the said appeals till January 30.
In a swift reaction to the ruling of the Court of Appeal, President Buhari suspended Justice Onnoghen, an action the Presidency said was in concert with the request of the Code of Conduct tribunal.
The embattled former CJN has been caught in a cross fire over his alleged false Assets Declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
However, Mr Onnoghen is facing trial on six counts of alleged false asset declaration.
The CCB accused him, among other allegations, of failing to declare domiciliary accounts used for transfer of foreign currencies which had existed since 2011.
The bureau said the failure of the CJN to declare the accounts in one of two forms, filled in 2016, meant that he was liable of false aset charges.
The charges were brought pursuant to a petition written by a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Denis Aghanya.
The federal government also asked the tribubal to order Mr Onnoghen to step aside as CJN during the trial.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in a request brought before the tribunal said its application is informed by the need to ensure that Mr Onnoghen does not become the judge in his own case.
Many lawyers and other critics of the trial have argued that the CJN ought to have first been reported to the National Judicial Cuncil, before any attempt at his trial.