Buhari refuses to appoint substantive CJN after sacking Onnoghen

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended Justice Tanko Muhammad’s tenure as the Acting chief justice of Nigeria by another three months as his tenure expires April 25.

The National Judicial Council also approved of the extension.

Buhari appointed Muhammad in acting capacity without recourse to the NJC, though section 231(5) of the Nigerian Constitution makes it mandatory that a top judicial officer must be recommended by the NJC before the President can appoint him or her in acting capacity.

For the extension, the NJC accepted Buhari’s request for the extension of the acting CJN’s tenure at its meeting held between Wednesday and Thursday.

No press statement was issued for the decision.

Former CJN Walter Onnoghen who had been suspended while he faced trial before the CCT, was convicted for false asset declaration on Thursday, though he had tendered his resignation before the tribunal’s verdict.

This made Muhammad the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court already positioned to take over as the substantive CJN.

But Buhari has chosen to extend the acting tenure for Muhammad.