Senate screens Onnoghen for CJN post today

By The Citizen

The Senate will today begin the confirmation process of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who gave the hint at plenary yesterday, urged senators to arrive the Red Chamber in time for the hearing on the confirmation process.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had in a letter dated Tuesday, February 7, 2017 forwarded the name of Justice Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive CJN.

The Senate, which was then not sitting at plenary because of the 2017 budget defence exercise involving ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs), had subsequently unveiled the presidential communication on Tuesday when it resumed for plenary.

'Confirmation of Justice Onnoghen is tomorrow (today) Wednesday 1st of March, 2017 at 11am at plenary. Kindly endeavour to be punctual please,' Saraki said.

The National Judicial Council (NJC), in exercise of its powers under Section 231(1) of the 1999 Constitution, had on October 13, 2016, recommended the name of Justice Onnoghen as the next CJN to President Muhammadu Buhari on the expiration of Justice Mahmud Muhammed's tenure as CJN.

But President Buhari eventually swore in Onnoghen as acting CJN on Thursday, November 10, 2016, an appointment which expired on Friday, February 10, 2017 and was immediately renewed by the NJC pending his confirmation by the Senate.

In the letter dated February 7, 2017, with reference number SH/AG. PRESIDENT/SEN/02/0 and addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki,  Osinbajo sought legislative confirmation of the appointment of Justice Onnoghen of the Supreme Court as the CJN.

In the letter seeking Onnoghen's confirmation, the acting president stated: 'Following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, I hereby notify you of the appointment of the Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, CFR, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

'The Senate President is requested to kindly present the said appointment of the Honourable Justice Onnoghen for confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pursuant to Section 231(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Please accept, Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards.'