The Federal High Court, Abuja has refused to grant a motion to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from swearing in Justice Tanko Muhammad as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), instead it wants government to show cause for such appointment.
The court declined to make the order, but instead put the defendants on notice.
It has therefore given President Buhari and six others until May 13 to appear before the court to explain why Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad cannot be restrained from being appointed the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
The court also wants to know why there should not be an injunction restraining the Senate (seventh defendant) from confirming Muhammad’s appointment pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled following an application by a human rights lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, who filed an ex-parte motion praying for the orders.
The Board of Incorporated Trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation had, in an ex-parte motion filed on April 15, 2019 sought the prayers.
Besides Justice Muhammad and the president, who is the fifth defendant in the suit, others are the National Judicial Council (NJC), Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), the Federal Government as well as the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Senate.
Ruling on the application, Justice Ekwo held: “None of the prayers made in this motion ex-parte can be granted in the absence of the defendants.
The plaintiff is hereby ordered to put the defendants on notice.
The defendants are hereby granted seven days upon being served to appear and show causes why the application of the plaintiff ought not to be granted. Case adjourned to May 13, 2019 for the defendants to show cause.”