Indication has emerged on the plans of the Supreme Court of Nigerian to decide a case challenging the suspension of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria,Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The Nation reports that the Supreme Court has fixed judgment for May 17 this year in a suit by Cross River State Government seeking to set aside the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
A seven-man panel of the court, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour fixed the date on Thursday after taking arguments from lawyer to parties. Lucius Nwosu (SAN) argued on behalf of the plaintiff (Cross River State), while Dayo Apata, Solicitor General of the Federation (argued for the defendants – the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation).
It is the plaintiff’s contention that Onnoghen suspension or removal from office by President Muhammadu Buhari, based on an ex-parte order by a lay magistrate (the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal) violates the Constitution, particularly Section 292(1).
In a counter-argument, the defendants are of the view that the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to approach the Supreme Court on the issue, because Onnoghen’s suspension was personal to him and cannot be interpreted to amount to a dispute between the Federal Government and the Cross River State Government
In another development, the Presidency on Wednesday night said that it was not bothered by the decision of the candidate of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar to challenge the outcome of the February 23 Presidential election in court.
Buhari on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was on Wednesday morning declared winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaking to State House correspondent after a dinner hosted by President Buhari for some of the APC members at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha said that the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act have made the provision for any candidate that is dissatisfied with election result to seek redress in court. He said “We are not jittery at all because the process was open and transparent. It was a credible election and we will continue to savour in the victory but in the process too, we will extend the hand of friendship for the purpose of nation-building and reconciliation.
“Our electoral Act and the constitution have both provided a window for whoever is dissatisfied with the process of election to seek redress. That is the path and we will encourage them to go along that path.” he stated
He also assured Nigerians that President Buhari would do more for them in his second term, especially in the area of infrastructure development.
He said: “Looking into the future of the country, the President is very clear about what he wants to do. He will stand on the three pivot points that he pushed forward in 2015; securing the nation, diversifying the economy and also fighting corruption with all intensity. There will be inclusiveness all over the place. This is one government that has really invested in social infrastructure by bringing people who are below the poverty level up and out of poverty.”
“There are so many things that we are looking forward to and I am very thrilled and grateful that we had this opportunity to now consolidate on the tenets and gains of our democracy.” he said.