Nigeria: Confusion in Senate Over Onnoghen

Photo: Vanguard
Justice Walter Onnoghen.
5 February 2019

Abuja — There is confusion in the Senate over the filing of suits at the Supreme Court, following the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The crisis reared its head, yesterday, as All Progressives Congress, APC, caucus in the Senate filed a suit at the Supreme Court, challenging the suit earlier filed by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who withdrew it as a result of the intervention of National Judicial Council, NJC, in the matter.

It would be recalled that the Senate had, through its president, Saraki, approached the Supreme Court last Monday to seek interpretation of the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Buhari.

But in a dramatic twist, yesterday, the Senate ordered the discontinuation of the case it filed at the Supreme Court over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari and his replacement with Justice Ibrahim Mohammed.

A statement signed by Special Adviser, Media to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, read: "The Senate has, therefore, decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the case has been slated for hearing tomorrow. This decision also affirm the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues."

Meanwhile, the Senate APC Caucus has differed from the position of the Senate President, as senators of the ruling party have gone to the Supreme Court to challenge Saraki on the matter.

The decision to go to court, according to the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North), was arrived at the end of the meeting of the senators, yesterday.

According to the Senate leader, the APC, which has 56 members, is challenging the said suit and has vehemently objected to the inclusion of its members.

A statement by Senator Ahmad Lawan read: "The Senate caucus of All Progressives Congress, APC, consisting of 56 senators, being the majority party in the Senate, has today (yesterday), Monday, February 4, applied to the Supreme Court to join in the suit purportedly filed by the Senate against the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as interested parties.

"The APC senators rely on the Supreme Court (Additional Original Jurisdiction) Act of 2002, which provides that the resolution of the respective Chamber of the National Assembly is a prerequisite of filing such suit.

"The caucus is, therefore, challenging the said suit and objects to the inclusion of its members."

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