Senate to hold confirmation hearing for acting CJN on Wednesday

The senate will conduct a confirmation hearing for Walter Onnoghen, acting chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), on Wednesday. Senate President Bukola Saraki, who announced this on the floor of the upper legislative chamber, on Tuesday, said the exercise would take place at 11am.

Last Tuesday, Saraki read a letter from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo requesting the confirmation of Onnoghen as CJN. Onnoghen has been acting CJN since November 10, 2016 when Mahmud Mohammed, his predecessor, retired.

A controversy had brewed over President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in sending his name to the senate for confirmation as CJN. But the tension was doused when news that the president had asked the senate to confirm him filtered in. Onnoghen’s tenure as acting CJN was due to elapse on February 10, but it was only two days before the time that the presidency communicated to the upper legislative chamber on his confirmation.

However, the senate could not consider the request because it was on a three-week recess. The National Judicial Council (NJC), which had nominated Onnoghen for the position, re-nominated him on February 9 – a day before the expiration of his three-month tenure. Onnoghen is from Cross River state. He is the only CJN from the south in 30 years.

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