– Popular lawyer, Mr Malachy Ugwumadu is known for his public policy analysis
– The legal practitioner has weighed in on the delay being experienced at the highest hierachy of Nigeria’s judiciary
– Ugwumadu is currently the president of Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, (CDHR) a well known pro-democracy group in Nigeria
Popular lawyer, Mr Malachy Ugwumadu has warned that majority of Nigerians are agitated about the delay of Justice Walter Onnoghen confirmation as Nigeria’s Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN).
Malachy Ugwumadu (left) cautions presidency on Justice Walter Onnoghen (right) confirmation
Ugwumadu made the declaration in an interview with the New Telegraph today, February 3 adding that what is being experienced in the Nigerian judiciary at the moment is unprecedented in the annals of succession in the apex court.
He wrote: ”Looking at it from the standpoint of the law, the Constitution under Section 232 recognises the appointment of a Chief Justice by the president upon the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC), subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
”The reason for such constitutional arrangement is to secure what you could call participatory or community intervention in our democratic process where exercise of such power must benefit from the input of other arms of government.
”The appointment of anyone for that position must have been preceded by nomination from the NJC and such nominations get the appointment of the president.
”The confirmation of the Senate is not a statement in passing, it required the screening, a thorough interrogation to ascertain the propriety of the appointment that the president has done.
”What is left is to forward the name of this acting CJN to the Senate, I didn’t say the name of another person because he is not at liberty to appoint any person. He is at liberty to appoint one out of the number of the Justices of the Supreme Court as recommended by the NJC.
”Having so appointed in an acting capacity, he (Buhari) cannot under the law refrain from submitting the name to the Senate. It is only the Senate that can do the effective completion of the process.
”If he fails to that within his period of three months, the law under section 232 (5) is that such an appointment needs to inceptive by the exclusion of time. That is the entire hulabaloo and we have just about seven days left.”
Ugwumadu went on to say President Muhammadu Buhari is taking things for granted, instead of simply saving Nigeria from this anxiety.
He said the president shouldn’t have appointed Onnoghen in the first place if he has no faith in him.
”I am actually disturbed about the silence.This is causing further distraction to the current government and it’s a sign that they are not getting their acts together,” he added.
Meanwhile, former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) has warned that the Buhari government was setting a dangerous precedent by causing Onnoghen to linger on the post of acting CJN since November 10 last year.