1. The president purportedly suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) acting on an ex parte Order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
2. Instructively, the Order was not made suo motu by the Tribunal but upon an application by the Prosecution, on behalf of Mr President’s Government. Also, the application did not afford the defendant an opportunity to respond to the allegations as it was brought by a Motion Exparte.
3. Whilst the discretionary powers to grant an Ex parte Order is incidental to the powers of a judge, such powers should be excercised judicially and judiciously, and must not be ultra vires or unconstitutional.
4. There is no provision of the Constitution that speaks about the suspension of judicial officers, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
5. S. 292 of the Constitution that is being bandied around speaks about the REMOVAL and not the suspension of judicial officers.
6. Assuming without conceding that that section of the law applies to SUSPENSION, an address supported by two-third majority of the Senate is a condition precedent for the declaration of the suspension of the CJN by the president to be valid.
7. Moreover, the REMOVAL (or suspension for the purpose of argument) of a judicial officer must be as a result of “inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.” However, allegation or standing trial for these wrongs cannot be exalted to the status of conviction, as it is the same constitution that safeguards the presumption of innocence of a defendant. The Code of Conduct Tribunal has yet to reach a decision on the guilt of the CJN regarding declaration of his assets.
8. There is an ancillary argument in the public that he who has power to hire also has power to fire. Apparently, this argument is spurious in this circumstance. The CJN is NOT an exclusive appointee of the President like a Minister. The CJN though appointed by the President can only be so appointed on the recommendation of the NJC subject to confirmation by the Senate. If this argument is therefore to be followed to its logical conclusion, then the CJN’s suspension should be preceded by the NJC’s recommendation and confirmed by the Senate before it can take effect.
9. The principle of Separation of Powers, one of the foundational principles in a democracy, was conceived to prevent a situation where an arm of Government would be subject to the whims and caprices of another, as evidenced in this case.
10. If the President’s team wants to hide under the inapplicable provision of S 292 to suspend the CJN, they should also be just and equitable enough to give the order of the Court of Appeal restraining the CCT from removing the CJN a purposive interpretation to cover his suspension.
11. At any rate, the purported swearing in of Honourable Justice Tanko is unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void, as the CCT made an unconstitutional order which was unconstitutionally executed by the president.
12. The office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is not vacant and there is nothing to show that Hon. Justice Mister Onnoghen is unable to perform the functions of the office, which could have necessitated the appointment of the most senior justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions by the president pursuant to S. 231 (4).
13. The political context of this illegal, unconstitutional, and anarchistic move is clear. The president who feigned ignorance about the prosecution of the CJN has now purportedly suspended the CJN, following an application initiated by his hatchmen.
14. The Chairman of the CCT, who boasted in open court that it is easier to remove the CJN than to remove a CCT judge, has found the nerve to order his suspension in flagrant disregard to the clear provisions of the Constitution. It is an open secret that the Chairman is liable to blackmail by the President following the threat of prosecution for a similar offence hanging over his head.
15. The purported suspension of the CJN by the president is therefore both illegal and immoral. It is a violent rape of our nascent democracy, and should be roundly condemned by every well meaning, right thinking Nigerian.
JAMB reveals how 2019 UTME will be conducted
Ahead of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB), said the board has introduced new innovations for successful conduct of 2019 UTME.
NAN reports that Oloyede made this known in Abuja on Monday at the meeting of critical stakeholders on strategic planning and preparations for supervision and evaluation of administration of 2019 UTME slated to hold between April 11 and April 15.
He said a robust item backed with appropriate safeguard had been developed by moving toward open examination with one million questions per subject which would soon be effected.
“A separate indicator had also been created for the deaf (mute) to differentiate them for special attention at the examination centre. Efforts are on to provide option of special centres or mainstreaming for the blind.
“We now have live report on centres that registered any candidate, the time the candidate was registered, who registered the candidate, computer system used, the location of registration.
“All these are done through our enhanced monitoring system. I want to warn candidates expected to sit for its examination to ensure their biometrics were taken and verified or risk sitting for the examination,’’ he said.
He called on candidates to comply with the rules of engagement governing the registration and examination of the UTME.
According to him, biometric verification will be the only mode for admittance of candidates into the examination centres.
He added that increasing threat of identity fraud during the UTME before the advent of BVM necessitated its introduction for capturing the biometrics of candidates to counter fraud.
“Any candidate that cannot be verified by the Biometric Verification Mode (BVM) must not be allowed to take the examination under any guise.
“All candidates whose fingerprints could not be captured during registration from centres across the country were brought to JAMB Headquarters and were registered appropriately.
“In other words, exemption mode is not allowed for any candidate. Therefore, no biometric verification, no examination,” Oloyede warned.
The registrar added that the use of email/password would not be allowed by cyber cafe operators as it had now been classified as an offence for cyber cafe to ask for password before rendering services.
Oloyede said the board held an international round-table on cheating devices in December 2017 where various technology devices used for examination further said that Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was added to the list of prohibited items during its examinations.
He said other items prohibited are wristwatches, recorders, earpieces, mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, smart lenses, erasers, smart buttons and spy reading glasses, among others.
The registrar said the board had approved the use of 708 Computer Based Test (CBT) centres across the country for the conduct of the examination.
He noted that the names of impersonators in the last 10 years would soon be published to serve as deterrent to others, adding added that about 1.99 million candidates had registered for the examination.
He called on the candidates to ensure they comply with the rules and regulations of the examinations
Govt shut down three institutions with reasons
The Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, has ordered the closure of three tertiary institutions in the state following a protest which turned violent in Ilesa.
Oyetola condemning the incident said the closure was with immediate effect.
The state government announced this in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Adeniyi Adesina.
The statement reads: “Following the unwarranted destruction of public property by irate members of the public in Ilesa, Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Monday night ordered the closure of three higher institutions of learning.
“The affected schools are Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, Osun State College of Health Technology, Ilesa, and Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke.
“The closure is with immediate effect, the government would not hesitate to take further drastic action, should the need arises in order to protect the lives and properties of the people.”
Governor Oyetola further assured residents of the state of safety, adding that the government is on top of the security situation in Ilesa and in all parts of the state.
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