Court Strikes out Suit Seeking to Stop Muhammad’s Confirmation as CJN

A federal high court sitting in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to halt the confirmation of Ibrahim Muhammad as the chief justice of Nigeria.

Muhammad has been occupying the office in acting capacity since January after President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Walter Onnoghen, former CJN, who was accused of false declaration of assets.

But the board of incorporated trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation had, in an exparte motion filed on April 15, urged the court to stop the appointment of Muhammad.

The plaintiff had asked the court to stop Muhammad’s appointment as the substantive CJN on the grounds that the constitution of the code of conduct for judicial officers was “violated” when the acting CJN was appointed.

The plaintiff further asked for an order of interim injunction restraining the senate from confirming Muhammad as the substantive CJN pending the determination of the substantive suit.

But delivering judgement on Friday, Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, held that the applicant lacked the “locus standi” (the right to initiate legal action) in the matter.

Ekwo said the applicant filed the case under the name of his non-governmental organisation, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

He said the purpose for which the case was filed was beyond what the foundation was created for.

“The plaintiff exceeded the parameter of his foundation,” Ekwo said.

“It is the law that the suit must be struck out. I hereby make an order striking out this action.”

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