Senate confirms Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen

The Senate has confirmed Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Senate voted to confirm Mr. Onnoghen, after the Cross River-born judge fielded questions from the lawmakers during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

“We are enlightened by some of the views presented today,” said Senate President Bukola Saraki, commending Mr. Onnoghen and thanking his colleagues who asked wide range of questions.

Mr. Saraki said the screening and the eventual confirmation was a milestone.

Mr. Onnoghen fielded questions on various subjects, relating to the independence of the judiciary, corruption in the judiciary, establishment of special courts for corruption trial and respect for court rulings, among others.

During the confirmation hearing, he asked to be excused from commenting on the delay in his nomination and trial of judges for corruption.

Mr. Onnoghen’s name was forwarded to the Senate on February 8 for confirmation as a substantive CJN by acting President Yemi Osinbajo, having been so recommended by the National Judicial Council.

He had been leading the country’s judiciary in acting capacity since November 10 when he was so appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the retirement of Mahmud Mohammed.

The delay in nominating him to the Senate for confirmation had generated controversy, with lawmakers from his home state accusing the President of sectionalism.

Mr. Onnoghen, 67, was born in Kruiku Town, Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State.

He bagged his Law degree from the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1977 before his BL certificate at the Nigerian Law School in 1978.

He started his career as a Pupil State Counsel in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, in 1979, after which he ventured into private practice.

In 1989, he returned to public service as judge in the High Court of his native Cross River State.

He joined the federal judicial service in 1998 as Justice of the Court Appeal, a position he held until 2005 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court.

He is the first CJN from Southern Nigeria in 30 years.

Having been confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Onnoghen is now due to be sworn-in by the President, or the Acting President, as the 20th Chief Justice of Nigeria.


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  • George

    IN 30yrs that position was held by the backward Northerners and some people are still asking why our courts are backward.

    • Gary

      Or wonder how the Judiciary became enmeshed in corruption.
      Anytime we sacrifice competence for mediocrity, the result is corruption and retrogression. Our people just refuse to connect the dots. You cannot vote for a guy without a High School Certificate and then insist that there’s no difference when a Law Professor takes charge.

      • Baka

        The last time we voted for a phd holder we saw corruption rising to all time high. We saw terrorists taking over part of Nigeria where they declared a ” caliphate”. The current recession and hardship were manifestation of bad governance by your lord, the phd holder.

        • Gary

          I will be the first to tell you that Jonathan was awarded a federal character doctorate from UniPort. He won’t be the first, remember Joseph Wayas? Nor the last, remember El-Rufai’s special convocation to award a doctorate to Buhari from University of Kaduna despite the fact that the new institution does not have a postgraduate program?

          We know who introduced and have been the beneficiaries of quota degrees and federal character in our education.

          The sad truth is that the Southern elite decided on the principle of “”if cannot beat them, join them” and thus began the race to the bottom in Nigeria. Buhari cannot produce his School Certificate but rose, via coups to become a General and now has a doctorate from the University of Kaduna.
          Jonathan led a corrupt government but Buhari has integrity and is not corrupt, abi? His integrity led him to serve under Abacha Looter and the stolen funds of the PTF which Buhari ran aground with the help of his family members. See a pattern here?
          Tell Magu, Lai &I Co to publish the FULL LIST of those from whom they have recovered public funds for Nigerians to see where they are mostly from.
          Unlike you, I hold no brief for thieves or the incompetent from my neck of the woods.

          • Powerlessconscious

            Biafraud can tell all the lies in the world. Buhari could not produce his certificate and he has good moral that stealing is corruption. Buhari is not only better than fake PhD holder thief gej, he is also better than YOU the truncated brains lovers of thieves and corruption.
            Only people like your kind also shout buhari stole ptdf fund but NO PDP members have ever mentioned this. Even fayose your God has never mentioned this.
            As far as you guys continue to use PDP education to run the affairs of your life, I doubt if you have hope of thinking right.
            When Mr clueless fake PhD holder was the man, THE WHOLE WORLD saw the MASSIVE LOOTING, IMPUNITY by politicians, TERRORISM, and the country was run like a MAMA PUT CANTEEN where every thief come and eat free food. Criminals were bribed and sin forgiven while THE INNOCENT NIGERIANS were crying, and lost hope. Tragedy and so on like that.
            If you still want to continue to depend on this your PDP education, You are the PRODUCT of your DECISIONS.

        • Dazmillion

          Which PHD holder? Do you mean Jonathan? Please if it is a joke you better stop it. Jonathan stopped his education after bribing his lectures to obtain his masters. If you investigate properly you might find that he did not write his final masters project himself

    • Baka

      If you are looking for bunch of backward people, consult a mirror. Idiots like you who hang on to sentiment for survival shall continue to lament for that is your portion in life. Your hate for the north has been turn into fertilizer by God as the north continue to progress in your face.

      During GEJ, irritants like you said Norther will never be elected but Buhari emerged. Now we have a female northerner as Assistant Secretary General of United Nation! Hang yourself dog.

  • No-holds


    Why is BUHARI hiding in London?

    President Muhamadu Buhari who played pranks to stall this confirmation by looking
    for fecal particle in the anus of Justice Walter Onoghen since last year October,
    did irreparable damage to public trust and confidence in justice delivery system
    in Nigeria, whilst he himself hides his fecal particles from the public inside London.

    Muhamadu Buhari has been in hiding now for 41 days, 15 hours and 35 minutes.
    Nobody in Nigeria has been told his reason for escaping Nigeria since the 19th of
    January, quite irresponsibly for a man elected to administer a country but who’s
    ended up sinking that same country into three consecutive quarters of severe
    economic recession, underlined by total darkness from electricity failure.

    • straight-to-the-point


      • G. Ajuwa


        Public confidence in the judiciary? Na today?
        Come to Ughelli and see how youths are dealing with some of these useless
        High Court Judges. In one case like this the youths marched into the court.
        They first gave upper cut to the court registrar who fainted straight. The
        Judge who was sitting in the court quickly stood up to run away from back door.
        The youths just tackled him. They pinned the Judge to the ground right there
        inside the court. Come and see beating. Heavy blows were landed on the head
        of the Judge. After a while the Judge fainted there on the floor of the court. The
        youths now carried all the case files on the bench away – everything. Hospital
        people came later to rush the Judge to hospital for over two months before
        doctors can revive that Judge. Another three Judges of the High Court were
        captured with their drivers on their way to court. They were taken into a
        forest far away and given hard lashes of kobokobo. Come to Ughelli and
        see the real wound on the faces of these useless Judges.

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