BREAKING: Onnoghen Absent As CCT Begins Hearing
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, is again absent to face charges of false declaration of assets filed against him on Tuesday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal [CCT].
Our correspondent at the Tribunal confirmed that argument is presently ongoing in the matter at the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Monday, declined the request by the embattled Chief Justice to make an order stopping the Code of Conduct Tribunal from proceeding with his trial.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal had on January 14 fixed today, January 22, for hearing in the six counts of false assets declaration filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau against Justice Onnoghen.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had also filed a motion asking for an order directing Onnoghen to step down as the CJN pending the conclusion of his planned trial before the CCT.
Two non-governmental organisations – Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative; and International Association of Students – had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, praying for orders quashing the charges against the CJN.
In response to the NGOs, Justice Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court, Abuja had issued two separate orders directing that status quo should be maintained in Justice Onnoghen’s case before the CCT.
In furtherance of the steps to stop Justice Onnoghen’s proposed arraignment before the CCT, his lawyers, led by Chief Adegnoyega Awomolo (SAN), went before the Court of Appeal to obtain another restraining order against the CCT.
Awomolo told a three-man Court of Appeal panel, led by Justice Abdu Aboki, that the restraining order was necessary to preserve the subject matter of the case at the CCT.
But Federal Government’s counsel, Emmanuel Omonuwa, said he was only served with the court process by Justice Onnoghen’s legal team on Monday morning and he needed at least three days to reply.
After a short deliberation among themselves, the three Justices of the appeal court declined granting Awomolo’s prayer to halt the CCT proceedings against the CJN.