Onnoghen: Court rejects motion to halt confirmation of Justice Tanko as CJN

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A Federal High Court, Abuja division, has rejected a request by a lawyer seeking to stop the confirmation of the appointment of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed .

Mr Muhammad was appointed in January after the suspension of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Onnoghen’s suspension attracted a number of litigations including the request brought by a lawyer, Malcom Omirhobo. He approached the court, through his foundation, with a request to stop the confirmation of Mr Muhammad as substantive CJN.

Mr Omirhobo accused Mr Muhammad of violating the rules of the legal profession by “presenting himself to Mr Buhari for the execution of Mr Onnoghen’s suspension.”

Subsequently, the applicant made an Ex-parte motion which was aimed at preventing Mr Muhammad from officially emerging as Mr Onnoghen’s successor.
An Ex-parte motion is a request by a party in a matter, which allows the court to act without hearing from the other party.

Apart from Mr Muhammad, other defendants listed in the suit are the National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Buhari, the Attorney General of Nigeria, and the Senate.

The applicant made two specific requests in addition to the general prayer before the court. In the first request, Mr Omirhobo demanded an order of the court restraining Mr Buhari from appointing Mr Muhammad as the substantive CJN.

In the second prayer, Mr Omirhobo asked the court to stop the Senate from confirming Mr Muhammad’s appointment.

In a ruling delivered on Friday, but obtained on Monday by PREMIUM TIMES, the court presided over by Inyang Ekwo said the application could not be granted.
According to the judge; “none of the prayers made in the motion ex-parte can be granted in the absence of the defendants”.

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The court ordered the applicant to serve the respondents with notice of the request. It then slated May 13 for the hearing of the motion.

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