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Senate Withdraws Supreme Court Suit Against Onnoghen

By Bukola Olasanmi

The Senate said it is no longer interested in continuing a case it filed at the Supreme Court on the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

In a statement on Monday, Yusuph Olaniyonu, media aide to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the Senate has decided to give the National Judicial Council (NJC)’s intervention a chance.

The statement noted that the decision follows the intervention of the NJC on the issue.

“The Senate has therefore decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the case has been slated for hearing tomorrow. This decision also affirms the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues,” the statement reads.

The Senate on January 28 filed a case at the Supreme Court to seek clarification on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

Relying on an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday suspended the chief justice replacing him with another Supreme Court justice, Tanko Mohammed.

In the suit, the Senate approached the apex court seeking its interpretation on whether President Buhari acted within the provision of the constitution in his suspension of Mr Onnoghen.

The Senate also wanted the court to determine whether the action of the president does amount to usurpation of the powers of the Senate as provided for in Section 292 of the constitution.

The section states conditions for removal of a chief justice but fails to clarify the difference between temporary removal and permanent removal.

A day after the announcement of the suit, the All Progressives Congress caucus in the Senate dissociated from the legal action, following which Mr Saraki clarified that it was initiated by “a majority of the leadership” of the chamber.

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