Justice Walter Onnoghen’s name has been removed from the National Judicial Council’s members’ list, preparing the ground for a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, to emerge as the council’s deputy chairman, The PUNCH reports.
The altered membership list of the NJC was observed on the council’s website at about 7.15pm on Sunday.
The list, displaying 23 members instead of the full membership of 24, shows that the council has yet to have a deputy chairman as constitutionally provided.
It was gathered that following Onnoghen’s exit, Justice Rhodes-Vivour as the second most senior Justice of the Supreme Court would be announced as the deputy chairman at the next meeting of the council.
“The date of the next meeting of the NJC is not known yet; but because the acting CJN has just taken over as the acting chairman of the council, it is expected that the deputy chairman will be announced at the next meeting,” a top judiciary source told our correspondent on Sunday.
Paragraph 20 (a) of Part I of the Third Schedule to the Constitution makes “the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court” a member of the council and provides that the person “shall be the Deputy Chairman.”
Our correspondent also observed on the website of the council on Sunday that the membership list of the NJC had been altered to reflect the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the acting chairman.
Onnoghen now occupies the 16th position on the list of former Chief Justices of Nigeria as observed on the website by our correspondent on Sunday.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal had last Thursday convicted Onnoghen on charges of breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and ordered his removal as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the chairman of both the NJC and the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
But multiple judiciary sources told our correspondent on Sunday that the NJC’s membership list was altered shortly after Justice Onnoghen tendered his resignation letter on April 4.
Constitutionally, the CJN is automatically the chairman of both the NJC and the Federal Judicial Service Commission, but Muhammad only took over the headship of the council on April 4, over two months after he began to act as the CJN.
This was a day after the NJC cleared him of wrongdoing in allowing himself to be sworn in as the acting CJN without NJC’s recommendation.
The council, which also investigated Onnoghen for various acts of misconduct, was said to have recommended him for retirement.
Onnoghen reportedly resigned on April 4, barely 24 hours after the NJC sent its recommendations to President Buhari.
Muhammad took over as the acting CJN after he was cleared by the NJC and Onnoghen resigned.
The current members of the NJC as observed on the council’s website on Sunday included Justice Muhammad; President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa; a former Justice of the Supreme Court and a former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola; a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sunday Akintan; and a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi.
They also included a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice, V.O.A Omage;
Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati; President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Babatunde Adejumo; Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello; and Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abiola.
The Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah; Chief Judge of Imo State, Pascal Nnadi; Chief Judge of Delta State, Marshal Umukoro; Grand Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Kwara State Grand Kadi Mohammed Abdulkadir; and President, Customary Court of Appeal, Plateau State, Justice Julia Kyentu are also members.
They also included the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN); a former NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN); and three NBA members, namely Dr Muiz Banire (SAN); Damien Dodo (SAN), and Efe Etomi.
The rest are a retired public servant, Mrs Rakiya Ibrahim; a former Permanent Secretary, Mrs R. Inga and Secretary to the Council, Ahmed Saleh.
Lawan: NASS Will Approve Any Request from Buhari
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday said any request from President Muhammadu Buhari would make Nigeria a better place, and such would be acted on “expeditiously.”
Lawan spoke when the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Itse Sagay visited him in his office on Thursday.
Sagay had called for the timely passage of the Special Criminal Court and other similar bills, saying such would help the anti-corruption war and ensure that the fight was successfully won with speed and energy.
He also appealed to the Senate to consider the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
Responding, Lawan said, “This is a new Senate. Going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Reps too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.
“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning.
“We are ready. In fact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working on them.”
Lawan said there was no request before the Senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC.
“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation.
“When such request comes, the Senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.”
Buhari Hails Jonathan @ 62, Says His Humility, Patriotism Will Continue to Resonate
President Muhammadu Buhari has praised former President Goodluck Jonathan’s humility and patriotism, saying that the qualities will continue to resonate.
This is contained in a message to congratulate his predecessor, who has turned 62.
The message, signed by his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates former President Goodluck Jonathan on his 62nd birthday, joining the nation in praying for longer life, good health and more strength to keep serving the nation.
“President Buhari rejoices with family, friends and political associates of the former president, lauding him for good counsels to leaders within and outside Nigeria since he left office, sharing his experience of serving at different levels of governance.
“President Buhari believes the former President’s legacy of humility and patriotism will continue to resonate, inspiring generations to come on the sacrifices made for the stability of democracy and promotion of sustainable development.
“The President wishes the former President and his family more years of joyful celebrations.”
Tottenham Hotspur: Pochettino Out, Jose Mourinho In
Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.
The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement.
Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months ago.
But the Argentine was sacked on Tuesday, with Tottenham struggling in the league after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games.
This season they were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester United and suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho, who has won domestic titles in a record four different countries.
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician.
“He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
Spurs hailed their new boss, saying in their statement: “Jose is one of the world’s most accomplished managers having won 25 senior trophies.”
He won Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.
The 56-year-old Portuguese won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge of Chelsea and returned to England to manage Manchester United in 2016.
Mourinho was sacked last December following a poor run of results and has been out of work since, most recently working as a TV pundit.
His first match in charge will be the London derby away to West Ham on Saturday.