By Bukola Olasanmi
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday fixed June 3, for definite hearing of a suit challenging the appointment of Justice Tanko Muhammad as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Muhammad was made the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria afterJustice Walter Onnoghen was suspended and later sacked as the CJN by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The Federal Government had brought charges bordering on Non-declaration of assets and false assets declaration against the former CJN
.Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the date for the definite hearing of the suit after all pending processes were regularised.
Ekwo had struck out an exparte motion seeking to serve Muhammad with court processes after it was withdrawn by the plaintiff, Mr Malcolm Omirhobo.
The appearance in court of Mr K.O. Ajana, Counsel for the Acting CJN led to the withdrawal and subsequent striking out of the application by the court.
The Board of Incorporated Trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation had, in an exparte motion filed on April 15 urged the court to stop the appointment of Muhammad.
The foundation averred that the prayer became imperative to give room for the hearing and determination its motion on notice.
The plaintiff, further asked for an order of interim injunction restraining the Senate from confirming Muhammad’s appointment as the substantive CJN pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Omirhobo, also the Counsel for the foundation, is asking the court to stop Muhammad’s appointment as the substantive CJN on the grounds that both the constitution the code of conduct for judicial officers were violated when the acting CJN was initially appointed.
After considering the issues raised in the affidavit, the judge ordered the National Judicial Council(NJC), Federal Judicial Service Commission, Muhammad, Federal Government,President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Senate, the defendants, to be put on notice.
Ekwo had given the defendants seven days, upon being served with the notice to appear and show cause why the application of the plaintiff should not be granted.
All the defendants in the matter had complied with the order of court after they were represented by their counsel leaving the stage set for the hearing of the substantive suit.