The Supreme Court has set May 17, 2019, to rule on a suit by Cross River State Government seeking to set aside the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, leading a seven-man panel of the court, fixed the date on Thursday after taking arguments from lawyer to parties.
Lucius Nwosu (SAN) argued on behalf of the plaintiff (Cross River State), while Dayo Apata, Solicitor General of the Federation (argued for the defendants – the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation).
It is the plaintiff’s contention that Onnoghen’s suspension or removal from office by President Muhammadu Buhari, based on an ex-parte order by a lay magistrate (the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal) violates the constitution, particularly Section 292(1).
In a counter-argument, the defendants are of the view that the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to approach the Supreme Court on the issue, because Onnoghen’s suspension was personal to him and cannot be interpreted to amount to a dispute between the Federal Government and the Cross River State Government.