President Muhammadu Buhari, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, have challenged the suit seeking to stop the confirmation of Justice Muhammad.
A civil rights lawyer, Malcolm Omirhobo of the Omirhobo Foundation is seeking the order of court to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari and others from initiating the confirmation of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammad.
The objection by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari and the AGF was brought by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata on Monday.
Apata submitted that the Foundation is not a juristic person, adding that the lawyer did not disclose any cause of action or the locus standi to institute the case.
Also, counsel to the Acting CJN, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) described the suit as premature, speculative and academic. He said the suit constitutes an abuse of court process as the Foundation had filed two other similar matters before the Federal High Court.
Omirhobo is asking the court to determine whether by sections 1(1)(2), 231（4) (a) (i)(b), 153(1) and Paragraph 21(a)(b) Part I of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, the office of the CJN was vacant as at 25th January, 2019 when Justice Muhammad was sworn in as Acting CJN.
He wants the court to determine whether the provisions of the Constitution contemplate the removal of the CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by ex parte order of court.
He therefore wants the court to make a declaration that, “the third defendant (Justice Muhammad) having conducted himself in a manner that casted doubt of confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary and having made himself as tool used in the violation of the Constitution of Nigeria is not a fit and proper person to be recommended by the 2nd defendant (FJSC) to the 1st defendant (NJC), and by the 1st defendant to the 5th defendant (the President) for appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Justice Inyang Ekwo has adjourned the case to June 7 for hearing.