By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The National Judicial Council (NJC), yesterday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s acceptance of Justice Walter Onnoghen’s voluntary retirement is in the best interest of Nigeria.
This is contained in the statement, signed by the Director, Information of the counsel, Soji Oye, yesterday.
According to the statement, the Council held an Emergency Meeting yesterday, to take formal note of the acceptance of the voluntary retirement of Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON, as Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The statement informed that the President’s acceptance of the retirement is in line with Council’s recommendation to the President on 3rd April, 2019.
The Council expressed gratitude for the President’s acceptance of Onnoghen’s retirement, adding that it was in the best interest of Nigeria.
The President had in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated that he welcomed the voluntary retirement of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the former CJN, from service.
It reads, ‘‘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.
‘‘This is in line with the government’s 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’’.
On Onnoghen’s retirement, the statement added, President Buhari has accepted the voluntary form service of Hon Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28,2019.
‘’The President thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished Jim the best of retirement life.’’