The National Judicial Commission (NJC) has recommended compulsory retirement for Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria.
It was gathered that members of the NJC, the disciplinary body for judicial officers, made the recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari after deciding that Justice Onnoghen has lost the “moral authority” to continue as the country’s top jurist, TheCable reports.
The NJC confirmed on Wednesday that it had sent a report on its probe of both the suspended CJN and Tanko Muhammad, the acting CJN, to President Buhari.
According to the report, this decision was unanimously made after members of the NJC, temporarily led by Umaru Abdullahi, a former president of the Court of Appeal, deliberated on the petition filed against Justice Onnoghen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The petition was said to have contained extensive allegations against the suspended CJN, which the NJC felt could not be waived off.
The report also stated that the judicial disciplinary body exonerated Justice Muhammad, declaring that he committed no offence to make himself available to be sworn-in as acting CJN without the approval of the NJC.
President Buhari would, however, have to seek the approval of the Senate to formalise the retirement of Justice Onnoghen, according to Section 292 (1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
A two-thirds majority of the upper legislative chamber would need to endorse the motion for the suspended CJN to be retired.
The suspended CJN is also facing a six-count charge of false declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct tribunal (CCT).
If found guilty, he could be removed from his position.