AT last, the name of Justice Walter Onnoghen has been sent to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive chief justice of Nigeria. With less than 48 hours to the expiration of his tenure as the acting CJN President Muhammadu Buhari directed Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to forward his name to the Senate for confirmation.
According to the Presidency, Buhari in a letter said that Onnoghen’s name should be transmitted to the Senate before February 10 when his tenure in acting capacity would elapse.
The president’s letter said in part: “Your Excellency may recall that I sent a letter dated 10th November, 2016, to Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen CFR, appointing him as acting chief justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“His acting appointment is due to lapse on the 10th of February, 2017. I am therefore, authorising you to write to the Distinguished Senate, in conformity with section 231 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, requesting for the confirmation of the same Honourable Jutice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen CFR, as the substantive Chief Justice of the Federation with effect from the date of the senate confirmation.
“Please accept, Mr Acting President, the assurances of my kind regards.”
According to Leadership, a source close to the office of the Senate president, confirmed that Bukola Saraki, Senate president, received the letter on Tuesday, February 7, demanding the Senate to screen and confirm Justice Onnoghen as the substantive CJN.
The delay in transmitting a letter to the Senate for his confirmation had led to controversies and accusations, with many accusing the Buhari of ethnic bias. Irked by the development, Justice Onnoghen pleaded with Nigerians not to pressure President Buhari into confirming his appointment as the full holder of the position.
With the latest development, Onnoghen takes over from Justice Mahmud Mohammed who retired after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 years. He becomes the first southerner since 1980 to assume the position of CJN.
— Feb 8, 2017 @ 15:10 GMT