The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, appeared before a technical committee constituted by the Senate to revive 17 different bills that were refused assents by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 10, 2018. This is the first time a CJN is appearing before any Senate committee.
The chairman of the committee, Senator David Umoru, disclosed at the meeting that the information made available to the Senate in the President’s letter refusing assent to the bills, hinted the fact that he acted on the advice given by the CJN.
But when it was the turn of the CJN to respond, the committee chairman ordered journalists, aides and protocol officers of the CJN out of the venue to pave way for a closed door session which lasted for about two hours.
Attempts to get clarifications from the CJN by journalists on what transpired at the closed door session was unsuccessful as he refused entreaties to that effect.
Before the closed door session, Senator Umoru said the President had directed the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to interface with the CJN to remedy the defects in the bill to strengthen the judiciary, but it was clear that neither Malami nor his representative was present at the meeting.
Besides the CJN, representatives of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria , Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Services ( FIRS) and Post Master General of the Federation , also had closed door session with the committee on how rejected Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2018 can be redrafted and forwarded to the President for assent.