NJC nominates Onnoghen to Buhari as next CJN

Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen

THE National Judicial Council (NJC), on Tuesday, recommended the most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as successor to Mahmud.

Mahmud will retire on November 10.

Onnoghen, who is from Cross River State, is the first Southern CJN-designate in 29 years.

Only his name was agreed upon by the council and will be sent to President Buhari today.

No stand-by nominee was chosen at the emergency meeting.

A council source told the Nigerian Tribune that the practice of sending two names to the president stopped with the appointment of Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

The single-nominee arrangement leaves the president with no luxury to make a choice.

However, the planned arraignment of the seven arrested judges, which was initially planned for Monday at a magistrates’ court in Life Camp, Abuja, was shelved at the last minute.

The Supreme Court had quickly raised a defence team of mostly Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) for them, before news came that the arraignment, which was to secure prison detention order, had been dropped.

Nigerian Tribune also sighted a correspondence from the DSS to the NJC, seeking the suspension of the arrested judges still in service.

The memo, dated October 10, with reference no LSD 960/11, read: “it is the humble request of the Service to the council to immediately suspend all the judges found to have been involved in grand corruption or based on petitions already submitted to it, including the already arrested judges.”

It was signed by Ahmed Ahmed on behalf of the DSS DG.

Nigerian Tribune learnt the request was considered at the emergency meeting.

NJC is likely to officially speak on its meeting outcome today.