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Senate drops Supreme Court case on Onnoghen’s suspension

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• Jurist must appear before us, CCT insists
• Tribunal adjourns trial till February 13

The Senate yesterday ordered that the case it filed at the Supreme Court on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, be discontinued following the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the issue.

Senate President Bukola Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the upper chamber had decided to give the NJC’s intervention a chance.

“This decision also affirms the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues”, the statement read, noting that the case had been slated for hearing tomorrow.

The Senate had on the 28th of January, 2018, taken President Muhammadu Buhari to the Supreme Court over the alleged illegal suspension of Onnoghen.

It sought the interpretation of the apex court “on whether President Buhari acted within the provision of the constitution in his suspension of the CJN or whether the action of the president does amount to usurpation of the powers of the Senate as provided for in Section 292 of the constitution.”

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But when the NJC met on the matter, it gave Onnoghen, and the acting CJN, Tanko Muhammad, seven working days to respond to petitions against them.

A former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umar Abdullahi, presided over the meeting as the interim chairman.

The withdrawal of the suit yesterday came even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus filed another suit challenging the power of the Senate leadership to institute the suit against President Buhari.

A statement by the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, reads: “The Senate caucus of the APC consisting of 56 senators, being the majority party in the Senate, has today, Monday, 4th of February, 2019, applied to the Supreme Court, to be joined in the suit purportedly filed by the Senate, against the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as interested parties.”

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