The National Judicial Commission (NJC) has recommended Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), for compulsory retirement.
It asked President Muhammadu Buhari to give effect to the recommendation immediately.
But the NJC urged the President to allow Justice Onnoghen retain his seat as a former CJN in the Council of State.
The council also said the CJN should be retired with full benefits.
After deliberating on the petition filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, members of the NJC unanimously agreed that Onnoghen has lost the moral authority to continue as CJN with the litany of allegations bordering on misconduct.
The NJC — which handles disciplinary issues of judicial officers — sat under the interim leadership of Umaru Abdullahi, former president of the court of appeal, who had to act because Onnoghen was already under suspension.
The council also concluded that Tanko Muhammad did not commit any offence by making himself available to be sworn in as acting CJN without the recommendation of the NJC.
According to a source, who pleaded not to be named “because of the sensitivity of the matter”, the compulsory retirement of Justice Onnoghen was the major highlight of NJC’s meeting yesterday.
All NJC members were said to have decided not to comment on the meeting because “it would not be right to do so when a letter has been sent to the President on their decision.” He should get the letter before any comment, the source said.
The source said: “The NJC has been able to navigate the most challenging moment for the nation’s judiciary by recommending compulsory retirement of Onnoghen with full benefits.
“The NJC specifically demanded that the CJN be allowed to take his eminent position in the Council of State like his predecessors.
“If these recommendations are accepted, the Executive may be on the same page with the Judiciary by staying action on the ongoing trial and other pending trials of the CJN.”
Buhari suspended Onnoghen on January 25, 2019 following an order made by the CCT.
TheNigerialawyer recall how the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), a civil society group, launched the legal move to remove Onnoghen.
The group had filed a petition against him at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over alleged false declaration of assets.
The CCB is empowered by the constitution to investigate public officers, after which it would forward its findings to the appropriate body for trial if the allegations are confirmed.
It had listed a number of allegations against Onnoghen — notably false declaration of assets.