A lawyer, Chief Malcom Omirhobo, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare that it is the constitutional duty of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to sanction a Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) when necessary for ethical misconduct.
In the suit he filed on Monday, Omirhobo joined as defendants, the attorney-general of the federation, NJC, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and Code of Conduct Bureau.
He wants the court to determine whether the constitutional power to investigate, discipline and sanction erring justices of superior courts of record, for ethical misconduct, is the exclusive preserve of the NJC.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CJN was billed to appear before the CCT on Monday on a six-count charge of non-asset declaration.
The lawyer also wants the court to decide whether the defendants can prosecute the CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, without referring his case to the NJC.
He is seeking the court’s interpretation of the CCT’s jurisdiction to entertain the charge against Onnoghen for purposes of arraignment or prosecution for judicial misconduct, without NJC looking into the allegations.
He also seeks a declaration that the constitutional power to investigate, discipline and sanction erring justices for ethical misconduct is the exclusive preserve of the NJC.
The lawyer equally seeks an order compelling the NJC to direct the CCT to discontinue with the charge against the CJN.
Besides, the lawyer seeks an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from prosecuting the CJN or any other judicial officer for ethical violation, without following due process of law.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.