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Justice Walter Onnoghen
Acting CJN - Hon Justice Walter Onnoghen to wait a bit longer for confirmation
Acting Chief Justice of Ni­geria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, will now wait till February 21, 2017 for the Sen­ate to decide on his confirmation as the country’s substantive CJN.
This followed the Senate’s deci­sion on Wednesday not to convene an emergency meeting to consider his nomination for the exalted of­fice by the Presidency. Onnoghen’s name was submit­ted to the Senate for screening and confirmation as the CJN yesterday by the Acting President Yemi Os­inbajo.
Sources in the Senate con­firmed that the Upper House had received the letter on Justice Onnoghen’s nom­ination as CJN by Osinbajo but de­clared that it would not convene an emergency session to screen and confirm him.
It was gathered that the Sen­ate President, Bukola Saraki will not read the letter until February 21, when the Senate will resume plenary.
A Senator, who spoke on con­dition of anonymity, said that, “the 90 days’ period specified by the na­tion’s constitution as deadline for an Acting CJN expires tomorrow and the Senate is not in session.”
He admitted that although Senators could be recalled if there is an emergency, such a situation has not arisen in Onnoghen’s case.
 “Yes, it is true that the Sen­ate President is in receipt of the letter nominating the CJN this morning (yesterday), that is the much we can confirm,” he said.
Citing section 231 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amend­ed), another Senator explained that the constitution makes pro­vision for Onnoghen to con­tinue to act pending his con­firmation, since the NJC has re-presented him for the office.
Section 231 (5) reads: “Ex­cept on the recommendation of the National Judicial Coun­cil, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appoint­ment a person whose appoint­ment has lapse.”
The Senate suspended ple­nary on January 26, 2017 to en­able its Standing Committees to consider the 2017 Budget.
Osinbajo on Wednesday forwarded a letter nominating Justice Onnoghen as the sub­stantive CJN amid mounting tensions across the country, especially in the South-South zone, where Onnoghen hails from.
The decision was contained on the twitter handle of the Pres­idency @NGRPresident on Wednesday.
According to the tweet, “Hon. Justice W.S. Onnoghen’s name has been sent to the Sen­ate for confirmation as the next CJN.”
President Muhammadu Bu­hari had on November 10, 2016 named Onnoghen, the most senior justice of the Supreme Court, as acting CJN, in line with recommendation by the NJC. This followed the retire­ment of Justice Mahmud Mo­hammed at the statutory age of 70.
Despite that Onnoghen’s tenure expires on February 10, the President had been silent on his confirmation, an action that has drawn the wrath of some prominent Nigerians and or­ganisations.
And in a bid to avert a con­stitutional crisis in the head­ship of the country’s judiciary, the NJC has asked Osinbajo to extend the tenure of Justice On­noghen as Acting CJN.
Rising from an emergency meeting on Wednesday, that was presided by the second-in -com­mand at the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Mohammed, the NJC said it took the action to avert a looming constitutional crisis in the justice sector.
According to an impecca­ble source at the NJC, “the only agenda was the issue of the act­ing CJN.
“Yes, it is true that the Sen­ate President is in receipt of the letter nominating the CJN this morning (yesterday), that is the much we can confirm,” he said.
Citing section 231 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amend­ed), another Senator explained that the constitution makes pro­vision for Onnoghen to con­tinue to act pending his con­firmation, since the NJC has re-presented him for the office.
Section 231 (5) reads: “Ex­cept on the recommendation of the National Judicial Coun­cil, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appoint­ment a person whose appointment has lapsed.”
The Senate suspended ple­nary on January 26, 2017 to en­able its Standing Committees to consider the 2017 Budget.
Osinbajo on Wednesday forwarded a letter nominating Justice Onnoghen as the sub­stantive CJN amid mounting tensions across the country, especially in the South-South zone, where Onnoghen hails from.
The decision was contained on the twitter handle of the Pres­idency @NGRPresident on Wednesday.
According to the tweet, “Hon. Justice W.S. Onnoghen’s name has been sent to the Sen­ate for confirmation as the next CJN.”
President Muhammadu Bu­hari had on November 10, 2016 named Onnoghen, the most senior justice of the Supreme Court, as acting CJN, in line with recommendation by the NJC. This followed the retire­ment of Justice Mahmud Mo­hammed at the statutory age of 70.
Despite that Onnoghen’s tenure expires on February 10, the President had been silent on his confirmation, an action that has drawn the wrath of some prominent Nigerians and or­ganisations.
And in a bid to avert a con­stitutional crisis in the head­ship of the country’s judiciary, the NJC has asked Osinbajo to extend the tenure of Justice On­noghen as Acting CJN.
Rising from an emergency meeting on Wednesday, that was presided by the second-in -com­mand at the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Mohammed, the NJC said it took the action to avert a looming constitutional crisis in the justice sector.
According to an impecca­ble source at the NJC, “the only agenda was the issue of the act­ing CJN.

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