By Bukola Olasanmi
The National Judicial Council (NJC) will reconvene on Monday (tomorrow) to deliberate on the fate of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko Mohammed.
The NJC had on January 29 adjourned its meeting to February 11 after it directed both Onnoghen and Mohammed to respond to petitions against them.
Justice Onnoghen is reported to have responded to a petition by Zikhirillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civil Education, while Justice Mohammed was said to have responded two petitions by the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative and Lagos lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).
Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged that the NJC meeting has been compromised by the Executive to force CJN Onnoghen to retire from the judiciary while acting CJN Mohammed is to be confirmed.
In a statement by the spokesman of the group, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere on Sunday, CUPP claimed it is in possession of a leaked draft resolution of the meeting handed to its interim chairman, retired Justice Umar Abdullahi, who it claimed was a classmate of President Muhammadu Buhari, to carry out the decision.
CUPP also alleged that a defence for the acting CJN was included in the draft resolution that “Justice Tanko Mohammed as at the time he made himself available in the Villa to be sworn in as Acting CJN did not have much of a choice as security operatives were detailed to bring him to the Villa on his way from the Mosque and he was only told why he was brought to the Villa when he was already in the Council Chambers.”
“Justice Umaru Abdullahi is completely compromised and should step aside for compromising the meeting and decisions of the NJC and receiving a draft copy of resolution from the Presidential Villa.
“The precedent of the decision of the NJC as was used in the case of Abia State has been excused and Justice Tanko Mohammed absolved of any collaboration with the Executive to violate the constitution. The bridge of the NJC and the entire judiciary is at the brink of falling,” the statement reads.