A constitutional lawyer and one-time member of the House of Representatives, West Idahosa has questioned the rationale behind the impending the removal of the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
TheNigerialawyer recalls the initiated move to relieve Justice Onnoghen of his duty over his failure to declare his asset before Asset declaration Code of Conduct Bureau.
But Dr. Idahosa disagreed with the procedure being used to get rid of the CJN, insisting that due process must be followed.
“The removal of a substantive CJN is not a tea party. NJC by the provisions of item 20(I) of the third schedule to the constitution has powers to deal with all matters relating to broad issues of policy and administration. Under these powers, it has drawn up disciplinary procedure for all categories of judges.
“These procedural guidelines have the force of constitutional law having being made under the constitution. They have been duly interpreted by the courts pursuant to section 6 of the constitution.
“A person or body wishing to send a petition against the CJN must follow the proper procedure. He is not above the law but the law is ruled by procedure.” he said.
Dr. Idahosa went further saying that the action of the petitioner who fails to adhere to procedural mechanism is null and void.
“Once you are in breach of the procedural steps which enjoy statutory flavor, the outcome is a nullify; waste of taxpayers money.
“The CJN as chairman of NJC cannot be a judge in his own matter. Once such a petition is received.
“He would recuse himself and the Deputy chairman would preside over the proceedings and a committee would be set up to investigate such allegations. If found guilty, the committee would send a report that would be considered by NJC.
“If the report is accepted, NJC would effect disciplinary measures in the case of misconduct. Where a crime is involved, it would recommend that the affected judge be tried according to law.
“What is so difficult to comply within these steps?”, he queried.