Ugochinyere had petitioned the NJC in his capacity as the national chairman of the Action People’s Party. The petition, which formed the basis of a fresh query the council issued to the acting CJN, was jointly signed by Ugochinyere and the party’s deputy national chairman, Kingsley Nnadi. In the NJC’s invitation dated March 1, 2019, Ugochinyere was asked to appear before a committee set up to investigate the allegation which will be sitting between March 12 and 15 at the Council Conference Room of the NJC Building inside the Supreme Court Complex, Abuja at 10am daily. “You are further requested to attend with all supporting documents, witnesses and counsel, if any,” the letter signed by the committee’s secretary, H.S. Sa’eed, read in part. Ugochinyere, through his lead lawyer, Anderson Elo, has however expressed his readiness to appear before the committee on Wednesday with “20 volunteer activist lawyers.” He promised to shock the nation with the release of additional documents which he claimed show the alleged forgery committed by the acting CJN. He said he would attend the sitting despite last minutes move to arrest him on trumped up charges to stop his appearance. He claimed that his Owerri home and Abuja apartment were invaded on Tuesday evening. In his petition dated February 11, 2019 and addressed to the interim chairman of NJC, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, Ugochinyere had asked the council to immediately suspend Muhammad and thereafter recommend him for immediate retirement. He said his party had instituted an action seeking declaratory as well as injunctive reliefs against the removal of Justice Walter Onnoghen as CJN as well as restraining Muhammad’s inauguration as acting CJN. He said Muhammad was named as the fourth defendant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/67/2019. He added that on January 21, 2019, the court made an interim order directing all parties to maintain status quo ante pending the determination of the motion on notice. Specifically, he said the court ordered that parties must observe the rule of law by not doing anything that would tamper with the res. He added that the court order was duly served on Muhammad on January 22, 2019 and he became aware of its full legal import. According to him, Muhammad violated the code of conduct for judicial officers by allowing his selfish interest to override his judicial calling. He accused him of conniving to perfect the illegal suspension of Onnoghen and unlawfully presenting himself for inauguration as acting CJN. The petition read, “The disturbing question which has damaged the sacred image of the judiciary is why would the Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad quickly present himself to be sworn-in as the acting CJN in obvious connivance with the partisan desecration of the deepest soul of the institution of judiciary? “Indeed, the despicable action of Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad has destroyed the judiciary and today he is now seen as the face of partisan judicial outlaw and epitome of executive lawlessness who should not be associated with the sacred and hallowed institution of judiciary. “In the exercise of your disciplinary powers, we request you to urgently suspend and recommend the immediate retirement of the Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.”]]>
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