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Monday, 28 January 2019

Administrative Staff In CJN Onnoghen’s Office Chased Away By Hefty Gun-Carrying Security Men

The official staff of the Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen has reportedly been chased away from the office of the embattled CNJ while the office has also been sealed, reported The Punch a short while ago. Report from Abuja said the hefty security men took over the office in a “commando”, style forcing all occupiers out of the building.

It is reported that the move was aimed at stopping any possibility of Onnoghen accessing the office, the operation was said to have taken place as early as 7am on Monday.

One of the sources said, “The police have sealed the office of the CJN. Officers and men of the Force went to the administrative staff offices at about 7am and ordered clerical and other staff who were already at their desks to leave after which they locked up everywhere.”

This came as the National Judicial Council has fixed Tuesday for an emergency meeting to deliberate on the sudden suspension of Onnoghen and swearing in of Justice Tanko Muhammad as the Acting CJN by President Buhari.

It is also coming at a time Onnoghen was warming up to challenge his suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari in court.

This is just as the National Judicial Council’s 88th meeting in Abuja has been delayed following fears of a possible clash between supporters of Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko Mohammed.

A senior advocate, who is a member of Onnoghen’s legal team, told one of our correspondents that it had become necessary to do so as the suspension of a CJN by a President was unprecedented.

He said, “We will be going to court to challenge the suspension of the CJN. The President relied on a CCT order despite the fact that the Court of Appeal had restrained all parties from removing the chief justice.

“The CJN was not even served with the court processes before he was removed by the President. So, all these will be challenged in court. When the processes have been filed, the documents will be made public.”

When asked why the CJN waited for three days before challenging his removal, the source said, “He was suspended late on Friday and you know courts do not sit on Saturday and Sunday.”

Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council has fixed an emergency meeting for Tuesday (tomorrow) in Abuja by 10am. The meeting, one of our correspondents learnt, was called over the Friday suspension of Onnoghen by President Buhari.

The spokesperson for the NJC, Mr Soji Oye, confirmed the meeting in a statement on Sunday night. He said the notice of the meeting had already been sent by the Secretary of the council, Ahmed Saleh, to members.

“The meeting will hold on Tuesday and notice has been sent to members. I can confirm this to you. It is different from the rumour that was in circulation before that a meeting had been fixed for Monday,” Oye said.

In a related development, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has called a meeting for Wednesday. In a statement issued on Sunday by the National President of JUSUN, Marwan Adamu, the union said it would deliberate on the happenings in the Judiciary and take a stand after the meeting.

Adamu described the situation in the Judiciary as unfortunate, insisting that the independence of the Judiciary as enshrined in the constitution “is non-negotiable.”

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