CJN Trial: It Is Saddening But No One Is Above The Law – Itse Sagay
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has said that the prosecution of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen by the Federal Government shows no one is above the law.
A six-count criminal charge was raised against Onnoghen over his alleged refusal to declare his assets.
There have been debates regarding the legality of the charges raised and the process by which the case was being prosecuted.
In reaction to the CJN’s trial, Sagay told Channels Television in a phone interview that the development is saddening.
He, however, noted that the case showed that Nigeria was gradually becoming a nation operating under the rule of law.
“This is a major development which establishes the fact that Nigeria is operating the rule of law at the highest level. Because the rule of law has many arms but one of them is that the law reigns supreme over any action in the country and secondly; nobody is above the law,” Sagay said.
Meanwhile, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights lawyer has called on the Federal Government to withdraw the charges against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Falana faulted the move by the government to press charges against the CJN in a statement on Sunday.
The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had filed criminal charges against Justice Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged failure to declare his assets, as well as operating a domiciliary account.
In his reaction, Falana asked the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to withdraw the charges against the CJN.
He said, “The charge against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, ought not to have been instituted at the Code of Conduct of Tribunal in view of the case of Nganjiwa v FRN (2017) LPELR 43391 wherein the Court of Appeal held that a judicial officer who has not been investigated by the National Judicial Council and sanctioned for misconduct cannot be arraigned in any criminal court in Nigeria.”
As all authorities are bound by the Court of Appeal verdict, the case should be withdrawn by the Attorney-General of the Federation without any delay because it is likely to be a prosecutorial misadventure,” the lawyer added.