National Judicial Council (NJC) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to retire the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, with his full benefits.
The decision was reached during the council’s meeting on Wednesday. It asked the president to, however, allow Onnoghen keep his seat as a former CJN in the Council of State.
A source told The Nation that all NJC members unanimously agreed to the recommendation.
The source said: “The NJC has been able to navigate the most challenging moment for the nation’s judiciary by recommending compulsory retirement of Onnoghen with full benefits.
“The NJC specifically demanded that the CJN be allowed to take his eminent position in the Council of State like his predecessors.
“If these recommendations are accepted, the Executive may be on the same page with the Judiciary by staying action on the ongoing trial and other pending trials of the CJN.”
Another source was quoted as saying that the council recommended retirement for Onnoghen based on a damning report submitted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC accused Onnoghen of “being in possession of funds which are fairly not attributable to his known, provable and legitimate source of income.”
It also said the opening of dollar account in Standard Chartered Bank for the CJN by a lawyer, Joe Agi, with $30,000 was unhealthy.
The commission said several amounts in dollars were deposited into the account from 2009 when it was opened, and that it all amounted to $1,716,000 which it said Onnoghen could not account for.