Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed has started to face a number of battles to keep his new job.
Juat three days after his controversial appointment, he has had a petition written against him by a senior advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba while the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has written to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), asking it to reveal his assets declaration forms.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen and appointed Muhammed as Acting CJN.
Onnoghen is accused of not declaring some of his assets upon his appointment as CJN.
In his petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC), Agbakoba (SAN) maintained that by submitting himself to the President to be sworn-in as acting CJN, Justice Mohammed lent himself to constitutional infraction by the executive arm of government.
He recalled that Justice Mohammed was part of an NJC panel that sanctioned Justice Obisike Orji of Abia State for allowing himself to be sworn-in as Abia State Chief Judge by the state’s governor without the recommendation of the NJC.
Agbakoba said, “It is a matter of regret that Justice Tanko Mohammed, who participated in this process, will lend himself to this constitutional infraction.
“We pray the NJC to determine this petition in line with the decision in Justice Obisike Orji by immediately removing Justice Tanko Muhammad as Justice of the Supreme Court on grounds of gross misconduct which has generated perhaps the most controversial crisis in Nigeria’s judicial history.”
According to Agbakoba, “the Constitution is clear about the procedure for suspending or removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed on the recommendation of the NJC.”
See copy of Agbakoba’s petition obtained by Newspeakonoine below:
Another challenge facimg Mohammed now is the question whether he too has not fallen into the same assets declaration trap like Onnoghen. That is the answer AFRICMIL seeks in its letter signed by its coordinator, Chido Onumah.
It wants the CCB to make the new CJN’s assets declaration form available, the ones he filled upon his elevation as a Supreme Court judge and the one he filled upon his appointment as acting CJN.
AFRICMIL said its request was in line with sections of the 1999 Constitution and the Freedom of Information Act.
See the letter below: