‘Osinbajo to send Onnoghen’s name to Senate for confirmation’

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is set to send the name of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive CJN, The Punch reports.

Following the mandatory retire of Justice Mahmud Mohammed, President Buhari had, on November 10, 2016, inaugurated Onnoghen as acting CJN based on the recommendation of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

According to the law, the President is expected to forward the name of the nominee to the Senate for confirmation.

In the past few months speculations have been rife that Buhari is not ready to send the name of Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation.

However, a source on Tuesday said Osinbajo was set to send Onnoghen’s name to the Senate this week to beat the February 10 date, which the Supreme Court’s Justice acting appointment is expected to expire.

The source said the nomination would be sent to the Senate on Tuesday or Wednesday (today).

“I can confirm to you that Onnoghen’s name will be sent to the Senate this week. The name will be sent today (Tuesday) or Wednesday before February 10 that his acting appointment will expire,” the source stated.

Speaking on why it has taken so long for Onnoghen’s name to be sent, the source said, “We are all witnesses to the recent discoveries in the judiciary. The government needs to be sure that whoever is going to be put at the head of that arm of government has a clean bill of health.

“The background checks have been concluded and the government is satisfied with its findings,” the source added.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, rrefused to comment on the matter.

If Onnoghen is confirmed, the Cross River born Justice will become the first southerner to head the judiciary in about 30 years.

Justice Ayo Gabriel Irikefe, who retired in 1987, was the last southern CJN.

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