The National Judicial Council (NJC), Tuesday, after a emergency meeting held in Abuja, gave the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Ibrahim Muhammad, seven working days to respond to a petitions filed against them.
It referred the petition against chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), the appropriate authority.
While Onnghen was petitioned by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education, Mahammad was petitioned by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative and human rights activist and former president of Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Olisa Agbakoba.
Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative wrote the one against Umar.
In the statement signed by Soji Oye,Director, Information of NJC, at the end of the emergency nmeeting, Tuesday, the council said it considered in all, four petitions, with three against the two most senior officers of the apex court.
Both Onnoghen and Muhammad recused themselves from the meeting.
The content of the petitions were, however, not divulged.
The federal government suspended Onnoghen last Friday on allegations that he failed to disclosed some of his assets.
He was suspended on the strength of ex-parte motion, federal government secured from the CCT and Muhammad was subsequently sworn in as CJN in acting capacity.
Onnoghen was earlier arraigned before the Umar-led Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on a six-count charge. CCT on Monday adjourned indefinitely pending when the appeal lodged by Onnoghen before Court of Appeal of Abuja Division is determined.
The statement read in part: “The National Judicial Council held an emergency meeting today and considered four (4) petitions filed at its Secretariat.
“The petitions are: Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education;
“Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative;
“Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and
Petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative. The council referred the petition against Danladi Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) which is the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.
“In line with its procedure, the council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I. T. Muhammad, CFR to them for their responses.
“In view of the gravity of the matters involved, council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.
“Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR recused themselves from the meeting.
“Consequently, Council elected Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, former President of the Court of Appeal as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.
“Council will reconvene on the 11th February, 2019.”