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Lawyer sues FG, seeks reversal of Onnoghen’s removal


Court gravel. Photo/ junctioncity

Human rights lawyer, Chief Malcom Omirhobo yesterday sued the federal government at the federal high court, Abuja, praying the court to declare that president Muhammadu Buhari has no power under the 1999 constitution to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Suing in the name of the board of incorporated trustees of Malcom Omirhobo foundation, the lawyer urged the court to hold that the constitution is the Supreme law of the land.

Beside the federal government, other defendants in the suit are president Buhari, attorney general of the federation, the senate, National Judicial Council (NJC), Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Mohammed Tanko and Justice Onnoghen.

He also wants the court to declare that the 2nd defendant (Buhari) can only  remove the 9th defendant (Onnoghen) from office as the CJN acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the 4th defendant (Senate) and that  the removal is without due process of law and therefore   unlawful.

“A declaration of court that the 9th defendant is and remains the CJN and that the appointment of the 8th defendant (Tanko) by the 2nd defendant  as the acting CJN and the  purported swearing  of the 8th defendant by the 2nd and 3rd defendants is non due process compliant,    improper, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic.

“A declaration of court that every act done or purported to have been done by the 8th defendant as the acting CJN, his agents, servants or privies is improper,  illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic and therefore null and void  and of no consequence whatsoever,” he prayed.

The plaintiff further urged the court to hold that the Nigerian judiciary arm of government  is not an appendage, Ministry and/or Department  of the executive arm of government.

Consequently, the plaintiff asked for an order setting aside the appointment and swearing in of the 8th defendant as acting CJN as well as an order, compelling him to forthwith surrender all the paraphernalia of  office of  the acting CJN  and stop parading himself as such.

The plaintiff also prayed the court to compel the 1st to 8th defendants to comply with the principle of separation of powers, judicial independence and rule of law.

The matter is yet to be assigned to a judge.

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