Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has sent a petition against the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, accusing him of lending himself to a constitutional infraction.
He supported his claim stating that Justice Mohammed was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia state High Court for accepting to be sworn in as Chief Judge by the Governor of Abia state without the recommendation of the NJC.
The petition reads: “On 25th of January 2019 President Mohammadu Buhari pursuant to an exparte order of the Code of the Conduct Tribunal purportedly suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghnen and purportedly swore in Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“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 Section 153 (1), Paragraph 21 (a) of the 3rd Schedule and Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the Supreme Court decision in Elelu-Habeeb v AGF (2012) 40 WRN 1.
“Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed is fully aware of the state of law, yet presented himself to be sworn in by the President. Incidentally, Justice Tanko Mohammed was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia state High Court for accepting to be sworn in as Chief Judge by the Governor of Abia state without the recommendation of the NJC.
“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 Mohammed as Justice of the Supreme Court on grounds of gross misconduct which has generated perhaps the most controversial crisis in Nigeria’s judicial history.”