— As NBA Orders Lawyers to boycott court for two days in protest of Onnoghen’s removal
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday, has debunked the rumour gaining traction online on Monday that he has resigned.
Onnoghen, whom President Muhammadu Buhari replaced with the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Mohammed, as Acting CJN, debunked the rumour in a statement on Monday.
The statement was signed by his media aide, Awassam Bassey, who described the CJN’s rumoured resignation as “fake news circulated by mischief makers.”
“Mischief makers are still circulating this fake news. Once again, no truth in it whatsoever. The Hon CJN, Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has not resigned,” Bassey said.
The rumour came less than 24 hours to the emergency meeting summoned by the National Judicial Council to deliberate on Onnoghen’s suspension and Muhammad’s emergence as the Acting CJN.
The Buhari administration has since Friday, come under scathing and widespread criticism locally and from the international community for being ill-timed, coming in the eve of the imminent general elections.
Meanwhile, the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) rose up from their emergency meeting and resolved that all its members should boycott the courts nationwide for two days (Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 January 2019) to protest the “constitutional infractions in the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria”.
The meeting was held at the NBA Auditorium, NBA House, Plot 1101 Muhamadu Buhari Way, Cadastral Zone A00 Central Area, Abuja.
Attendance at the NEC meeting was limited only to Statutory NEC members, who are national officers, past presidents, past general secretaries, branch chairmen, branch secretaries, branch NEC representatives and chairmen and secretaries of sections.
As all Nigerian lawyers are automatic members of the NBA, the resolution means all lawyers anywhere in the country will be absent in court for two days.
President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen as the CJN on Friday and swore in Tanko Mohammed in acting capacity, leading to widespread condemnation both from home and abroad.