Does The President Have The Right To Suspend/Remove The CJN, Justice Onnoghen?


The suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari is threatening to tear Nigeria apart. Both the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, radical lawyer, Mike Ezekhome, former presidential aide, Reno Omokri to mention but few, has condemned the suspension of the CJN and termed it a total disregard and disgrace to Nigeria constitution, with Atiku Abubakar calling the act "a brazen act of dictatorship".

The case involving Justice Onnoghen, the CJN of Nigeria is in court but apparently, the desperate FG cannot wait for its outcome and hence decided to take the root of total tyranny in order to perfect their plans of rigging the forth coming election. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his speech few days ago said and I quote "make no mistake, we are back in the Abacha regime". This is exactly what is happening in Nigeria today.

The fact still remains, does the president have constitutional right to suspend the CJN? ... Below is what the constitution said ....

Section 292.

(1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances:-

(a) in the case of:-

(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief of Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.

(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State.

Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.

Editors Note:

Thus, a serving Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed from office by the president after at least two-thirds majority members of the Senate declare support for the move, but in this case, it is a suspension and the law said nothing about that. 

Yes, the law is sacrosanct and yes we always have lacunas in constitution but what is "removal" which the law have provisions for and what is "suspension" which the law didn't provide for, which the FG decided to use? I bet the law didn't really envisage this kind of situation when making the law. As long as removal from office prevents someone from exercising his/her duties, and suspension does the same thing, I think both word technically mean the same thing. I stand corrected anyway.

Does The President Have The Right To Suspend/Remove The CJN, Justice Onnoghen? Does The President Have The Right To Suspend/Remove The CJN, Justice Onnoghen? Reviewed by Exlink Lodge on Saturday, January 26, 2019 Rating: 5

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