The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has resigned, a senior lawyer in his legal team confirmed on Friday.
“I have just spoken with him. He confirmed to me that he resigned voluntarily yesterday,” the senior advocate who said he did not have Onnoghen’s authorisation to speak on the issue told PUNCH.
Onnoghen had reportedly sent his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, barely 24 hours after the National Judicial Council concluded investigating him for various allegations of misconduct.
Meanwhile, TheCable reports that by virtue of section 306 of the 1999 constitution, his resignation takes immediate effect.
Section 306 says “(1) Save as otherwise provided in this section, any person who is appointed, elected or otherwise selected to any office established by this Constitution may resign from that office by writing under his hand addressed to the authority or person by whom he was appointed, elected or selected. (2) The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it.”
TheCable previously reported that Onnoghen’s retirement benefits in cash and kind will cost tax payers about N2.5 billion.
As part of the package for a retired chief justice, a house will be built for him in Abuja with a nine-digit sum for furnishing — in addition to a severance gratuity that is 300% of his annual basic salary of N3,363,972.50, as well as pension for life.
Just like state governors, a retired chief justice is entitled to a number of domestic staff and sundry allowances for personal upkeep.
This package for judicial officers was put together by the NJC long before Onnoghen became the CJN in 2017.
However, if he is dismissed, he will not be entitled to any benefits.
Onnoghen chose the option of resignation as a measure of damage control, his associates told TheCable.