President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement of Justice Walter Onnoghen, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The president also wrote the Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, to initiate the process of appointing five new justices of the Supreme Court.

Buhari’s decision was made public on Sunday in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.


According to the statement, Buhari welcomed the voluntary retirement of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the former CJN, from service.

In the statement, Buhari’s letter was quoted thus, ‘‘Pursuant to the provisions of Section 230(2) A&B of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I am pleased to request that you initiate in earnest the process of appointing additional five Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to make the full complement of 21 Justices as provided by the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution.

‘‘This is in line with the government’s agenda of repositioning the Judiciary in general and Supreme Court in particular for greater efficiency, with a view to reducing the backlogs of appeals pending at the Supreme Court.

‘‘Please accept, your Lordship, the assurances of my highest regards.’’

On Onnoghen’s retirement, the statement added, “President Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28, 2019.

“The President thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished him the best of retirement life.”