CJN yet to use office seven months after

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has been operating from his chambers instead of his designated office since January 2019 when he became the acting CJN, SUNDAY PUNCH can confirm.

He continues to operate from ‘Chambers 1’, his old office as a justice of the Supreme Court, despite his swearing in by President Muhammadu Buhari as the substantive CJN on July 24.

Our correspondent visited the CJN’s wing at the sprawling Supreme Court complex in Abuja on Thursday, and found out the place had been deserted since Justice Muhammad assumed office as the acting CJN on January 25, 2019.

President Buhari swore in Justice Muhammad as the acting CJN on the same day he controversially suspended the immediate-past CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, based on an ex parte order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal that has been discredited by the Court of Appeal.

The police on January 28, 2019, the first work day after Onnoghen’s suspension, sealed off the CJN’s office and other adjoining ones, ejecting administrative staff.

The move was seen as pre-empting any possibility of Onnoghen accessing the office after his suspension.

Justice Muhammad continued to operate from his chambers as the acting CJN even after his first three months of acting was renewed for another three months by the National Judicial Council upon Buhari’s request in April.

He has remained in his chambers after his inauguration as the substantive CJN on July 24, 2019.

Following enquiries by our correspondent on Thursday, private security operatives around the axis of the CJN’s office said it was under renovation.

Our correspondent could, however, not observe any renovation activities going on at the deserted axis on Thursday.

The Supreme Court’s Director of Press and Information, Dr Festus Akande, told our correspondent on Friday that Justice Muhammad would start occupying the CJN’s office at the beginning of the new legal year of the court later in September.

Akande said, “You know that the office has not been used for some time. So there is the need to carry out some renovation on the office.

“But I can assure you that the honourable CJN will move to his office as the new legal year begins later this month.”

The new legal year ceremony of the Supreme Court will hold later in September during which 38 lawyers, including the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, and a Lagos lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, will be confirmed with the coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.


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