Abuja, Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeira (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The President announced the suspension at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.
He said the action followed the order of the CCT directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial.
The President consequently swore in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Mohammed who hails from Bauchi state is the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court.
Justice Onnoghen is being tried over allegations of failing to declare his assets.
At the last seating on Tuesday, the Federal Government had applied for him (the CJN) to step aside.
The Counsel to the government, Mr Aliu Umar, informed the tribunal that the application asking him to step aside was not aimed at removing him as the CJN and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
He explained that the application was filed to excuse the judge from the duties of a CJN to enable him defend himself before the tribunal.
Appeal Court Bars CCT From Proceeding With CJN’s Trial
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has barred the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from proceeding with hearing in the false assets declaration filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN) Walter Onnoghen.
At the resumed hearing of the appeal the Defence Counsel, Wole Olanipekun told the court that the CCT has vowed not to comply with orders from other courts which it described as Court of Coordinate Jurisdiction except that of the Court of Appeal.
He however emphasised on the issue of jurisdiction raised before the CCT which according to him was ignored.
Mr Olanipekun argued that if the application is not granted it will affect the judiciary in totality and will be a threat to the country and the constitution as a whole.
In a counter affidavit, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Oye Koleosho said the decision on whether to stay proceedings at the tribunal is at the discretion of the tribunal.
He drew the courts attention to the fact that the lower tribunal adjourned the hearing of the application challenging its jurisdiction which was at the instance of the defence counsel and if the court stay proceedings, the tribunal cannot decide on the issue of jurisdiction.
Justice Abdul Aboki who presided over the appeal wasted no time after the arguments to order the CCT to stay proceeding pending the determination of the appeal and adjourned to January 30, 2019.