A legal practitioner has said Nigeria federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari is setting a wrong precedence by the unlawful removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
The lawyer, Barrister Oguntuyi Adeniyi said the Presidency does not have exclusive right to ask the CJN who was brought to office through a procedure to vacate without the due process of the Law.
Oguntuyi, who spoke to our correspondent at the weekend said the law that established the National Judicial Council was established purposely to protect the sanctity of the office aimed at ensuring that any judicial officer is not in a frivolous manner alleged of any allegation.
“The National Judicial Council was put in place especially in a matter relating to the removal of a judge to carry out a background check as well as an internal investigation regarding any allegation against any Judicial officer to establish whether there is any culpable allegation that warrants him to be subjected to a trial.
“In every law there is a mischief that the law wants to cure and in this circumstance the law wants to put straight the law establishing the National Judicial Council which empowers the council to investigate and carry out internal checks in respect of any allegation, be it criminal or non-criminal before such a judicial officer will be exposed to public ridicule.
“If this right is taking away from them, the intention of the law will be violated.
“The issue is not whether the CJN committed the offence or not, but can the federal government make a blanket declaration that the CJN should vacate office?
“In view of section 292 of the constitution, the presidency has two options either to pass through the National Assembly or allow 2/3 majority of the Assembly to make recommendation to Mr. President who actually rectified his appointment to remove him from office or in the alternative the CJN be subjected to the National Judicial Council to carry out appropriate background checks in respect to the allegation.
“If this process is not followed, all the Judicial officers would one day be exposed to frivolous allegation and in every of such allegations the presidency will ask the judicial officer to vacate office which poses a serious danger to our judicial system”, Oguntuyi said.
The legal practitioner however called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take a second look at the provision of section 292 of the 1999 constitution and retract his earlier decision.