The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, who was sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, is expected to perform the inauguration of members of the National Assembly, governorship & state assembly election petition tribunals today.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) had Wednesday granted an ex-parte application directing the removal of Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen.
In the tribunal’s order, the president was directed to appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria to avoid a vacuum.
Justice Onnoghen was initially billed to conduct the ceremony at the Supreme Court Complex in Abuja today. Justice Muhammad was sworn in by President Buhari inside the council chamber of the State House, Abuja.
Onnoghen had earlier yesterday through his media assistant, Awassam Bassey, described as false, reports that he had resigned from his post. He is facing trial over alleged false assets declaration brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, earlier requested that Onnoghen resign from office, though his case, currently ongoing at the CCT, was adjourned till January 28.
But the Court of Appeal ordered the CCT to suspend sitting on Thursday in view of the applications before it and is billed to give its verdict on January 30.
About Ag. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad
Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR, was born on December 31, 1953. He hails from Doguwa, Giade Local Government Area of Bauchi State. He attended Giade Primary School from 1961 to 1968 and proceeded to Government Secondary School, Azare from 1969 to 1973.
Justice I. T. Muhammad was appointed Magistrate Grade II from 1982 to 1984 with the Bauchi State judiciary. He rose to Senior Magistrate Grade II from 1984 to 1986. He was appointed Provost, College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Bauchi from 1986 to 1989.
He was appointed Chief Magistrate/Deputy Chief Registrar, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from 1990 to 1991. From 1991 to 1993, he was appointed the Kadi (judge) of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Bauchi State.
Justice Muhammad was elevated to the position of Justice of the Court of Appeal from 1993 to 2006. He was later appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2006 and sworn in on January 8, 2007.
What the Constitution says on removal of CJN
Section 292. (1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances –
(a) In the case of –
(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,
Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;
(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.