The outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher has submitted 52 constitutional amendment bills to Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, seeking the removal of powers of sacking judges from the President.
If the proposal is approved, the President can only recommend removal of judges to the Senate which must be backed by documents substantiating the allegations levelled against him/her.
During the presentation at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday, Musdapher said:
“This Bill is an important step in our comprehensive plan to reposition and reform the judiciary to meet the expectations of Nigerians. The ongoing judicial reforms have been aimed towards a clear objective a justice system that is simple, fast, and efficient… responsive to the needs and yearnings of the citizenry.”
Among the 52 amendments, Musdapher is seeking the alteration of Section 292 of the 1999 Constitution.
The extant Section 292 subsection (b) read thus: “The President or the Governor as the case may be acting on the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or for misconduct or contravention of the code of conduct”.
However, the CJN also proposed additional provisions to the section thus: “Provided that the address from the Senate or House of Assembly, as the case may be, required under paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be accompanied with a memorandum from the National Judicial Council certifying that the judicial officer was accorded the right to fair hearing with respect to the issue in question and that in the opinion of the National Judicial Council, a prima facie case for the removal of the judicial officer has been established”
Musdapher said: “The process of removal of judicial officers has also been streamlined to ensure a greater degree of fairness.”