Nigeria: NJC begins hearing on petitions against suspended Onnoghen, acting CJN
London, March 11, 2019 (AltAfrica)-An investigative panel of the National Judicial Council will on Tuesday begin hearing on the petitions of alleged misconduct written against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad. Punch newspaper reports
It is understood that the five-man panel set up by the NJC to investigate the petitions against the two top judicial officers has sent letters of notice to the affected people including the author of the petition for appearance on Tuesday.
The NJC had at its February 13, 2019 meeting reviewed the pre-assessment report on the petitions written against the two men and considered the complaints worthy of being investigated.
The council then set up a five-man panel led by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice S.A Akande, to investigate the petitions and issued queries to the judicial officers.
One of the petitions was reportedly written by a civil society group, the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, and its Executive Director, Mr Dennis Aghanya.
The allegations in the petition sent to the NJC were said to be the same as the one sent to the Code of Conduct Bureau, made up of six counts, accusing the suspended CJN of failure to declare some bank accounts with huge funds in foreign currencies as part of his assets.
The other petition sent to the NJC was said to be by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accusing Onnoghen of having suspicious lodgements of huge funds in his bank accounts.
The petition sent to the NJC against Muhammad was reportedly authored by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), who requested that Muhammad be sanctioned for submitting himself to President Muhammadu Buhari to be sworn in as acting CJN without any recommendation by the NJC.
It is believed that both Onnoghen and Muhammad had replied to the queries issued to them.
Agbakoba, the author of the petition against Justice Muhammad, told Punch on Sunday that he had received a notice for the Tuesday hearing on the Acting CJN’s case.“I will appear before the panel on Tuesday,” Agbakoba was quoted as saying on telephone.