Below are The constitutional provisions dealing with the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) on the Removal of Chief Justice of Nigeria
- (1) 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, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,
Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;
(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of 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 mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.
A New Precedent
In December 2017, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos established a new precedent when it held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission did not have the statutory powers to investigate or prosecute serving judicial officers except where such individuals have first been dismissed or retired by the National Judicial Council, the body saddled with disciplining erring judges.
According to the appellate court, serving judicial officers can only be prosecuted for offences like murder, stealing and others if such offences were committed outside the discharge of their official duties. But once the offence was allegedly committed in the discharge of their duties, they must first be tried by the NJC, and dismissed or retired before the EFCC can investigate or prosecute them, the court said.