SAN FRANCISCO, May 14, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) have been given 14 days to defend the choice of Justice Ibrahim Muhammad as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja had, on May 3, ordered them to show why reliefs contained in an ex-parte motion should not be granted.
In the motion ex-parte, the plaintiff – the Board of Trustees of Malcom Omirhobo Foundation — approached the court to seek “an order of interim injunction restraining the fifth defendant (Buhari) from appointing the third defendant (Justice Muhammad) as the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the determination of the motion on notice filed herein”.
It is seeking also “an order of interim injunction restraining the 7th defendant (the Senate) from confirming the appointment of the 3rd defendant as the Chief Justice, pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
Named as defendants in the suit are: National Judicial Council (NJC), Federal Judicial Service Commission of Nigeria (FJSCN), Justice Muhammad, Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), President Buhari and the AGF and the Senate.
However, when the suit was called on Monday, only three of the defendants – the NJC, FJSCN and Justice Muhammad – were represented by lawyers.
The NJC was represented by Elizabeth Jonathan, while Sani Sule announced appearance for the FJSC while A.O Ajana appeared for Justice Muhammad in protest because his client was not served with court processes.
When Justice Ekwo indicated that he would like to hear the case promptly, the plaintiff’s lawyer withdrew the motion on notice he filed for an order restraining the defendants from appointing Justice Muhammad in substantive capacity.
The judge then gave the defendants 14 days to respond to the substantive suit and adjourned hearing till June 3 and ordered that hearing notices be issued and served on parties that were not in court.