The National Judicial Council (NJC) has constituted a new investigative panel to further deliberate on the preliminary assessment of an earlier panel in the petitions against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko Mohammed.
The NJC yesterday received the recommendation of the initial panel constituted to look into the responses of Justice Onnoghen and Mohammed. It, however, decided to probe further into the allegations against the two most senior justices.
In a statement signed by the Director of Information, Soji Oye, the NJC agreed that "the petitions were worthy of further investigation and should not be terminated under Rule 17 of the Judicial Discipline Regulations of the Council."
"Consequently, the council constituted a five-member Investigation Committee pursuant to Rule 20 (1) of the Judicial Discipline Regulations under the Chairmanship of Hon. Mr. Justice S. A. Akintan, CON, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria."
The NJC also said it received a fresh petition from the All Peoples Party (APP) against Justice Mohammed, and directed him to reply within seven working days.
"Council directed the Investigation Committee to work expeditiously, determine all the petitions and responses and report to Council for a final decision," the statement read.
Appeal court adjourns Onnoghen's appeal
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has again adjourned the appeals filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen to February 20 for hearing.
A three-member panel of justices presided by Justice Abdul Aboki adjourned the matter to enable a new counsel to handle the matter on behalf of the Federal Government.
The matter, which came up yesterday after it was adjourned for lack of quorum on Tuesday, could not proceed as the counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Oyin Koleoso informed the court that all matters relating to the CJN are now being handled by Aliyu Umar (SAN), who is also prosecuting the criminal trial at the CCT.
But counsel to Justice Onnoghen, Chris Uche (SAN) opposed the adjournment, arguing that Koleoso was the one who prepared the brief for the Federal Government. He added that the CCT is a lower court to the Court of Appeal.