Why Senate went into closed-door session before confirming CJN Tanko Muhammad – Official

Ahmed Lawan Senate President
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan

The Acting Senate spokesperson, Adedayo Adeyeye, has said the executive session the Senate had before screening and confirming Justice Tanko Muhammad had nothing to do with the confirmation exercise.

Mr Muhammad was earlier confirmed by the Senate as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday requested Mr Muhammad’s confirmation. His request was sequel to the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to make Justice Muhammad the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Mr Muhammad was first appointed in January after the president controversially suspended Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who was accused of false declaration of asset.

Prior to the confirmation, the lawmakers unanimously agreed to go into a closed-door session. This was after the Senate resolved into the committee of the whole to begin the screening and confirmation.

The executive session lasted for about half an hour after which Mr Muhammad was invited into the chamber.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Mr Adeyeye said the lawmakers went into an executive session to discuss privately with each other.

“We can go into executive session at any time just to discuss privately with each other. If there are issues to be discussed privately, we call for it.

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“It does not actually relate to the screening but just issues concerning senators generally. So, we had to go into executive session to discuss it and we can always go into executive session at any point in time if the need arises.

“The Senate President or request of other members can call for executive session. That’s what happened today. I don’t think we should bother ourselves about that,” he said.

The Senate voted to confirm Mr Muhammad after he responded to questions from the lawmakers during his confirmation hearing.

Mr Muhammad 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.

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