It is like the game of Chess; it requires wit, calculation and alertness. The embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen has already been cornered and gotten at the spot the executive wanted him, not to lose out completely, therefore, he opted for resignation, which analysts said could benefit him to the tune of 2.5 billion naira.
Right from when the Presidential Muhammadu Buhari’s led executive charged Onnoghen for false declaration of assets, he has been pressured to resign.
Despite being suspended and an acting CJN appointed in his place, the 69 years old embattled CJN, who still have one year before the end of his years of service, decided to put up a fight.
But the stroke that broke the camel’s back, as they say, was the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that President Buhari should retire Justice Onnoghen compulsorily for misconduct.
As a ‘sharp man,’ having had his name tarnished, Onnoghen could not afford to also lay back and watch himself being dismissed from office, thereby losing the benefits associated with the meritorious retirement or resignation from the office.
According to TheCable, Onnoghen’s retirement benefits in cash and kind will cost tax payers about N2.5 billion.
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.
Just like state governors, a retired chief justice is entitled to a number of domestic staff and sundry allowances for personal upkeep.
This package for judicial officers was put together by the NJC long before Onnoghen became the CJN in 2017.
However, if he is dismissed, he will not be entitled to any benefits.
Onnoghen, however, is not the only one that will benefit from this ‘easy way out.’ President Buhari will also be saved the trouble of lobbying two-third majority of the senate to agree with the recommendation of the NJC to retire Onnoghen.
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