Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has tendered his resignation as CJN, according to a member of his legal team.
“Please don’t quote me. But I have spoken with his lordship and he confirmed to me that he voluntarily resigned on Thursday”.
The senior lawyer however declined to disclose if Onnoghen’s action was informed by NJC’s report to President Buhari.
Though his resignation has not been announced officially, one of his counsels, who said he was not authorised by Onnoghen to speak to the press on the issue, confirmed this to our correspondent.
If his resignation is confirmed officially, by virtue of section 306 of the 1999 constitution, it will take immediate effect.
Section 306 says “ (1) Save as otherwise provided in this section, any person who is appointed, elected or otherwise selected to any office established by this Constitution may resign from that office by writing under his hand addressed to the authority or person by whom he was appointed, elected or selected. (2) The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it.”
Onnoghen is currently being prosecuted by the Federal government on a six count charge bordering on failure to declare some of his assets in line with the provisions of the law for public officers.
He was specifically accused of not declaring five of his accounts in Standard Chartered Bank located in Wuse Abuja.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal where Onnoghen is being prosecuted on the non asset declaration charges had on April 3 adjourned till April 15 for parties to adopt their final written addresses as well as to fix a date for Judgment and ruling on other pending applications.
Onnoghen was suspended as CJN by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 25, ten days after his trial commenced at the CCT, on the orders of the Tribunal.
The suspension order was sequel to an ex parte application by the federal government which prayed the CCT to suspend Onnoghen pending the determination of the trial.
The Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, in granting the ex parte motion also ordered President Buhari to swear in the most senior to Onnoghen in the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Muhammad, as Acting CJN.
Though the report of the NJC on the petition against Onnoghen was yet to be made public, it was believed that part of the recommendation made to the president is the compulsory retirement of Onnoghen as CJN.