It was reported that Onnoghen turned in his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday evening, a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended to President Buhari that Onnoghen should be retired compulsorily for non-declaration of assets.
According to section 306 of the 1999 constitution, his resignation takes immediate effect.
Section 306 says “(1) Save as otherwise provided in this section, any person who is appointed, elected or otherwise selected to any office established by this Constitution may resign from that office by writing under his hand addressed to the authority or person by whom he was appointed, elected or selected. (2) The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it.”
This resignation also halts the situation whereby President Buhari from needed to get two-thirds majority of the senate to confirm Onnoghen’s retirement as stipulated in Section 292 (1) of the 1999 constitution which says a “judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances – (a) in the case of – (i) Chief Justice of Nigeria… by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.”
It was widely reported on Thursday that Onnoghen will take an estimated N2.5 billion for retirement.
As part of the package for a retired chief justice, a house will be built for him in Abuja with a nine-digit sum for furnishing — in addition to a severance gratuity that is 300% of his annual basic salary of N3,363,972.50, as well as pension for life.
However, if he is dismissed, he will not be entitled to any benefits.
Judgment on Onnoghen’s Code of Conduct trial has been fixed for April 15.