11 June 2019

Nigeria: We Recommended Justice Onnoghen's Retirement - NJC

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Walter Onnoghen.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari's acceptance of the retirement of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen as being "in the interest of Nigeria."

In a statement by the NJC through its Director of Information, Soji Oye, also stated that the decision of the president is in line with the council's recommendation to the President on 3rd April 2019.

Oye said the NJC held an emergency meeting on Monday "to formally note the acceptance by President Buhari of the voluntary retirement of Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON."

The spokesman of the president Garba Shehu had in a statement on Sunday said the voluntary retirement of "the Chief Justice was effective from May 28, 2019."

A five-member panel of the NJC submitted its report on the allegation of false asset declaration against Justice Onnoghen and the petition of breach of the constitution by presenting himself for inauguration on January 26 against the Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

But the NJC on April 3 said it considered the nature of petitions against the then CJN especially, the petition by the EFCC and decided to send its recommendation directly to the president.

"Council also resolved that, by the nature of the decision reached, it would be inappropriate to publicise it before conveying it to Mr. President," NJC said.

Though Justice Onnoghen on April 4 tendered his resignation, he was on April 18 convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for false asset declaration and banned from holding public office for 10 years. He, however, appealed against the verdict.

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