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The Presidency has finally settled for Justice Walter Onnoghen, as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, and may forward his name to the Senate for confirmation any moment from now, the Nation has confirmed.

Justice Onnoghen’s appointment as Acting CJN will end on February 10.

Reports indicate that has been cleared of all allegations impeding his appointment, as the head of the nation’s Judiciary.

The nomination may either be sent by President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, depending on when the President’s vacation ends.

A security report on Justice Onnoghen is said to have been centered on “the fact that he is reform-minded and suitable for the anti-corruption agenda of the Buhari administration”.

A Presidency source said: “All hurdles against the nomination of Justice Walter Onnoghen as CJN have been resolved. He has been absolved of all allegations against him.

“As a matter of fact, the nomination was delayed as a result of the need to address these allegations. Now, Justice Onnoghen has been given a clean bill of health.

“Every allegation was investigated and proofs indicated that Onnoghen has no case to answer. The government went to this extent to ensure that the holder of the office of CJN is above board.”

The source dismissed the insinuations that the delay in nominating Justice Onnoghen had to do with his being a Southerner.

“There were issues against him and it became imperative to get to the roots of these allegations,” he said, adding: “More importantly, the outcome of the security checks rated Onnoghen as ‘reform-minded and suitable for anti-corruption agenda of Buhari administration”.

Justice Onnoghen underwent security checks by the Department of State Services, DSS, and other agencies in the light of the ongoing probe of some judges of the Supreme Court.

Some of the checks focused on:

Justice Onnoghen’s antecedent as a lawyer.
What the 1994 Justice Kayode Eso (JSC) panel said on Onnoghen.

How NJC Review Committee of 1999 on the Eso Panel’s report, headed by Justice Bola Babalakin(JSC), addressed issues against Justice Onnoghen.



Outcome of recent investigation of bribery allegations against some Supreme Court Justices by the DSS.

Recommendations of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, FJSC, and the National Judicial Council, NJC, on Onnoghen.

Another government source added: “These agencies sent independent  confidential assessment to the President on the credibility and competence of Justice Onnoghen.
“Some of the allegations bordered on observations  made on Onnoghen  in 1994 by a Judicial Reform Panel which was headed by late Justice Kayose Eso (JSC).

“The panel, which was raised by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, indicted 47 judges and recommended their dismissal or retirement from the bench.

“Members of the National Judicial Council, NJC, however rose in favour of Justice Onnoghen by producing evidence that Justice Bola Babalakin Review Panel, set up ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, cleared Justice Onnoghen in 1999.

“They said it was on the basis of the clean bill of health that the NJC strongly recommended the confirmation of Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.”

The source also said further checks revealed that Justice Onnoghen had been incorruptible.

The source added: “Onnoghen was also rated as a conscientious judge and one of the three justices who wrote dissenting judgement on the 2007 Presidential Election in favour of the then candidate of the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

“The other judges were Justice Oguntade and ex-CJN Mariam Aloma Mukhtar.

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