In what is not totally an unsurprising twist in a long-running saga, suspended Walter Onnoghen has tendered his resignation as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) with immediate effect,
The embattled Justice, who has been in the eye of the storm since last year, reportedly turned in his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday evening, most likely in the immediate aftermath of the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommendation calling for his compulsory retirement for cases of misconduct.
“By virtue of section 306 of the 1999 constitution, his resignation takes immediate effect.
“Section 306 says “(1) Save as otherwise provided in this section, any person who is appointed, elected or otherwise selected to any office established by this Constitution may resign from that office by writing under his hand addressed to the authority or person by whom he was appointed, elected or selected.
(2) The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it,”
The resignation, described as perhaps best option for him at this time having failed to yield to it when the storms started gathering in January, also saves President Buhari the arduous task of seeking the two-thirds majority of the Senate to confirm Onnoghen’s retirement.
Section 292 (1) of the 1999 Constitution states that a “Judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances – (a) in the case of – (i) Chief Justice of Nigeria… by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.”