As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmoud Mohammed, bows out today, the Federal Government has assured that there is no cause for alarm over the emergence of his successor.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said that the government would be guided by the law in the choice of Mohammed’s successor and asked Nigerians speculating on the matter to hold their peace.
Malami explained that the appointment of a new Chief Justice was not the sole responsibility of the Presidency but a tripartite arrangement involving the President, the Senate and the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The Justice Minister pointed out that while the NJC had recommended Justice Walter Onneghen, as the most senior judge of the apex court for appointment as the next CJN, the Presidency and the Senate still had roles to play before a new CJN could emerge.
The AGF said there was no need for anyone to doubt the sincerity of President Muhammadu Buhari, as he would always be guided by appropriate laws in taking his decision on the matter. He said Buhari would be guided by Section 231(4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which provides a three-month window for the emergence of a new CJN.
The sections states: “If the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office,’ then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the President ‘shall appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions.’’