NJC to Buhari: Retire Onnoghen, approve Mohammed as new CJN

With the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC), the coast seems clear for Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to mount the saddle as CJN.

President Muhammadu Buhari is likely to accept the NJC’s recommendation that Justice Muhammad should be CJN, The Nation said in a report Thursday.

But Buhari is said to be weighing whether or not to accept the NJC’s recommendations on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Buhari, who had a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the issue before flying out to Jordan, is also said to be seeking legal opinions on the NJC’s decisions.

The NJC absolved Justice Muhammad of any blame in deferring to the President to be sworn in as the Acting CJN.

He accepted the appointment, having been presented with an ex parte order of the CCT, which led to Justice Onnoghen’s suspension.

The report said after receiving the NJC’s recommendations, the President elected to seek legal advice on them.

A top government official, who pleaded not to be named because he was not permitted to talk on the matter, said the President was considering:

*Whether or not NJC’s conclusions on findings on Onnoghen did not amount to indictment;

*If he should accept NJC’s soft-landing decision to retire Justice Onnoghen with full benefits;

*Onnoghen’s retirement without benefits; and whether the law should run its full course, including the conclusion of *Onnoghen’s trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal and a fresh trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Buhari is also believed to be thinking of asking NJC to recommend deterrence for Onnoghen or seeking further consultations with the council.

The President is also said to be planning to seek advice on whether the input of the Senate necessary in retiring Onnoghen?

*** This report was adapted form The Nation.

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