Nigeria’s most senior judge Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen has resigned, his lawyer said on Friday, less than two months after he was charged with non-declaration of assets that government critics said was politically motivated.
“Yes, he resigned yesterday,” Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, told AFP, without giving further details. President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen just weeks before elections in February, prompting outrage and claims he was trying to manipulate the judiciary.
As head of the Supreme Court, Onnoghen could have ruled on any disputes relating to the election, which saw Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), win a second term of office. His beaten rival, Atiku Abubakar, from the Peoples Democatic Party (PDP), has launched a legal challenge to the result, after calling the election a “sham”.
Onnoghen’s resignation came a day after the regulatory body for judges, the National Judicial Council (NJC), recommended he should be compulsorily retired from service.