Viral SANs-Designate List Is Fake, Unofficial – Supreme Court

A file photo of the CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

 

 

The Supreme Court has described as fake and official, a list being circulated online as names of lawyers penned for the award of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) rank for 2021.

In a statement issued by the Director of Press and Information at the Supreme Court Festus Akande on Wednesday, the apex court distanced itself from the list.

The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC), a body chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), gives the highly coveted award to deserving lawyers annually and is domiciled at the Supreme Court.

The apex court’s spokesman noted that the 2021 list of SANs-designate in circulation online did not emanate from the LPPC.

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“We wish to state clearly that the above information is fake, unofficial and untrue. It’s a mere figment of the imagination of the authors who may ostensibly be on a mission to impugn and malign the reputation and integrity of the LPPC with a view to causing confusion and skepticism in the public space,” the statement partly read.

“The information should be discountenanced by whosoever might have come across it. For the umpteenth time, we wish to let the public know that any information, especially issues regarding the above topic can only emanate from the office of the LPPC Secretary/Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Anything outside this official source should be disregarded.”

Akande noted that the LPPC traditionally announces names of successful applicants for the award of SAN rank in reputable national dailies, adding that this year’s edition would not be an exception.

He also warned that purveyors of fake news would be arrested and given appropriate sanctions to serve as a deterrent to others.

CJN Commissions Judges Quarters, Hands Over Apartments In Rivers

A file photo of the CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has commissioned the Judges Quarters built by the Rivers State Government.

The exercise was carried out in Port Harcourt on Thursday by a justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili who represented the CJN.

Speaking during the commissioning of the quarters, Justice Odili thanked Governor Nyesom Wike for building the edifice and naming it after a late Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chinwe Aguma.

“To the glory of God, on behalf of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, I hereby commission this befitting residential estate for use by our honourable judges and justices of Rivers State judiciary and the Court of Appeal,” she said.

The gesture by the state government should be replicated in other states of the federation, Justice Odili said.

According to her, the nation’s judiciary deserves more than it is currently getting.

“The time to change the unpalatable narrative has come. The judiciary deserves more than it is currently getting.

“The good example emanating from Rivers State should be a role model to be adopted and replicated across the country,” she said.

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On his part, Governor Wike said the commissioning of the judges’ apartment is in fulfillment of the promise made by his administration in 2015.

Wike explained that the move is necessary to improve on the living conditions of the judges who contribute to the dispensation of justice in the country.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike speaks during the commissioning of the Judges Quarters in Port Harcourt on September 3, 2020.

 

He, however, assured them that the Certificates of Occupancy was duly signed two days ago, stressing that Justice Muhammad would issue the certificates.

“Giving the constitutional restriction on legal practice, post-service life could be miserable for judges who were unable to buy or build their own homes before leaving the service,” Wike said.

“This challenge or circumstance has embedded the potential for encouraging corruption among judges with the attendance of negative circumstances on impartial justice delivery.

“With the new policy, however, the state now bears the full responsibility of providing all judicial officers of Rivers State origin beyond their service years for life.

“The policy is implemented in either of two ways – Judges have a choice to receive a purpose-built house in the state government or opt for cash payments to build or buy their houses for themselves.

“Furthermore, the policy applies to all judicial staff of Rivers State origin including those serving in any of the Federal Judicial Divisions that is the High Court or the Federal Capital Territory.”

NJC Clears Federal Judge Of Misconduct

njc

 

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has cleared a judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of misconduct.

The Council chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, dismissed a petition by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the jurist.

Justice Muhammad held that the anti-graft agency’s letter, accusing the judge of wrongfully granting an ex parte application, was without merit.

He, therefore, advised the EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to file an appeal, if he was dissatisfied with the decision.

This comes a month after the EFCC filed a petition claiming that Justice Taiwo granted an ex parte order restraining it from performing its statutory functions.

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But the Council, in its response made available to the EFCC today, said it considered the Commission’s claim and the judge’s response during an online meeting on 22 and 23 April 2020.

“After deliberation, the Council could not find any substance of infraction committed by the learned trial judge.

“Council also noted that all the steps taken by the learned trial judge in handling the cases were in accord with the laws and procedure legally available.

“Consequently, the Council dismissed the petition for lack of merit. You are therefore advised to appeal against the Ruling if you wish, please,”  the NJC said in a letter by its secretary, Ahmed Saleh.

PHOTOS: Buhari Swears-In Tanko Muhammad As New CJN

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday swore-in Justice Tanko Muhammad as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Justice Muhammad also at the event took his oath of office and pledged not to allow personal interests’ override his official decisions in office.

 

See photos of the swearing-in below…

Senate To Confirm Mohammad Tanko As CJN

 

The Senate has resolved to screen the nomination of Justice Tanko Mohammad as the Chief Justice of the federation.

Justice Mohammad’s screening is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17th.

He will be screened by a committee of the entire Senate.

Senate President, Dr.Ahmed Lawan made the vote during plenary on Tuesday.

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President Muhammadu Buhari had last week, forwarded Justice Tanko’s name to the Senate for confirmation, in accordance with Section 23(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

The President took the action based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

He also sent a second letter seeking the approval for the appointment of 15 special advisers.

Court Strikes Out Suit Seeking To Stop Confirmation Of Tanko Muhammad As CJN      

Tanko Muhammad

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit challenging Justice Tanko Muhammad’s competence to hold the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo made his judgement on the grounds that Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation who is the plaintiff, lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.

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Justice Ekwo also held that the group does not have the power to engage in the public interest litigation which it claimed to be undertaking by filing the action.

He adds that contrary to the claim of the plaintiff to be a non-governmental organisation, there is no legislation in Nigeria permitting the registration of any group as such and no group registered under the Part C of the company could engage in such litigation.

Justice Ekwo asks the National Assembly to emulate some Commonwealth countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe that have separate legislations on registration of the non-governmental organisation.

The court decision comes a day after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded the name of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to the Senate for approval as the substantive CJN.

The President’s request was sent in a letter to the Senate on Thursday.

A second letter was also sent by President Buhari, seeking the approval for the appointment of 15 special advisers.

Buhari Asks Senate To Confirm Tanko Muhammad As CJN

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded the name of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to the Senate for approval as the substantive CJN.

The President’s request was sent in a letter to the Senate on Thursday.

A second letter was also sent by President Buhari, seeking the approval for the appointment of 15 special advisers.

Buhari’s requests come a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) rose from an Emergency Meeting to recommend to the President, the appointment of Justice Muhammad, as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The NJC had also recommended eight other persons as Heads of Court.

Following a meeting which was initially presided over by Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, the NJC said it considered and approved the recommendation of its Interview Committee that screened the two candidates presented by the Federal Judicial Service Commission to it for appointment as Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Buhari Writes CJN Over Appointment Of Supreme Court Justices

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammad, over the appointment of five additional Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

According to him, the President wrote: Pursuant to the provisions of Section 230(2) A&B of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I am pleased to request that you initiate in earnest the process of appointing additional five Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to make the full complement of 21 Justices as provided by the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution.

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This is in line with the Governments Agenda of repositioning the Judiciary in general and Supreme Court in particular for greater efficiency, with a view to reducing the backlogs of appeals pending at the Supreme Court.

“Please accept, your Lordship, the assurances of my highest regards.”

Meanwhile, Mr Garba also noted that President Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria which took effect from May 28.

He said the President thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished him the best of retirement life.

Agbakoba Submits Petition Against Acting CJN, Tanko Mohammed

 

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba has submitted a petition against Justice Tanko Muhammed, who was appointed last Friday as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement from his chambers on Monday, Mr Agbakoba said he submitted his petition to the National Judicial Council, asking it to determine the propriety of Justice Mohammed accepting to be sworn-in by the President in place of the suspended CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

According to him, by submitting himself to the President to be sworn-in as acting CJN, Justice Mohammed lent himself to a constitutional infraction by the executive arm of government.

Agbakoba recalled that Justice Mohammed was part of an NJC panel that sanctioned Justice Obisike Orji of Abia State for allowing himself to be sworn-in as Abia State Chief Judge by the state’s governor without the recommendation of the NJC.

Agbakoba said, “It is a matter of regret that Justice Tanko Muhammad, who participated in this process, will lend himself to this constitutional infraction.

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“We pray the NJC to determine this petition in line with the decision in Justice Obisike Orji by immediately removing Justice Tanko Muhammad as Justice of the Supreme Court on grounds of gross misconduct which has generated perhaps the most controversial crisis in Nigeria’s judicial history.”

Insisting that the President violated the law in suspending Justice Onnoghen, Agbakoba cited Section 153 of the constitution, saying the law was clear on how a CJN could be removed.

He said, “The Constitution is clear about the procedure for suspending or removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria can only be removed on the recommendation of the NJC. See Section 153 (1), Paragraph 21 (a) of the 3rd Schedule and Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999and the Supreme Court decision in Elelu-Habeeb v AGF (2012) 40 WRN 1.

“Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammad is fully aware of the state of law, yet presented himself to be sworn in by the President.”

Meanwhile, anti-corruption group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has given the NJC till Thursday to take over Onnoghen’s case and look into the false asset declaration allegations levelled against him.

SERAP, in a statement by its Senior Legal Adviser, Bamisope Adeyanju, asked Justice Muhammad to recuse himself from the case.

It said if the allegations against Justice Onnoghen are established after the investigation by the NJC, the CJN should be handed over to the relevant anti-graft agency for prosecution.

“The NJC should take the recommended action within five days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will take appropriate legal action to compel the NJC to take action on the case,” the statement read.