We Are Maintaining Zero-Tolerance For Corruption – CJN

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad said the Supreme Court of Nigeria is ever ready for any eventuality and is also well prepared to keep the country together as one indivisible entity through effective and efficient justice delivery.

Justice Muhammad stated this while addressing the members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption [PACAC], led by their Chairman, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, who paid a courtesy visit to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The CJN revealed that the Supreme Court, being the highest and final court in the land, is always very critical and conscious of every case that comes before it on appeal and as such, the Justices always put in concerted effort by doing a critical review of all facts and evidence before them to arrive at a decision in order to give justice to all parties in a free, fair and generally acceptable manner without any iota of equivocation.

‘’We are all seasoned judicial officers that were appointed to the Supreme Court based on merit, experience and qualification. We are bound by the oath we have subscribed to and thus discharge our responsibilities without deference to anybody and we will continue to do so.”

“We are never above board as human beings, so we are open to constructive criticisms. It may interest you to know that before we deliver any ruling or judgment, no matter how small it is, even if it is only five sentences, we have to hold conference with all the Justices on the panel and could even expand it in some critical situations to involve all the justices of the court. The sole aim of this practice is to ensure that justice is given in every case before us, no matter how infinitesimal it might be because we are the final court in the land.”

“Our judgments are always all-encompassing and must, at all times, reflect the feelings and views of every Justice on the panel. Dissenting judgments are always encouraged because we cannot all see things from the same perspective.”

Justice Muhammad assured the visitors that the Supreme Court, as usual, would continue to dispense justice in a free and fair manner that every citizen will be happy to say at the end of the day that justice is done, except of course, for those people who will only accept that justice is done when it favours them and not when the right thing is done.

He urged the PACAC members to help impress on the executive the need to be releasing all funds meant for the Judiciary at the appropriate time to avoid halting its operations. He further appealed to them to always offer advice whenever the need arises and not to also hesitate to forward petitions against any erring Judge to the National Judicial Council for immediate action, stressing that his administration is poised to maintain a zero-tolerance for corruption within the Judiciary.

‘’If you have any complaint against any judicial officer, you can approach the National Judicial Council immediately with your petition. I can assure you that it will be looked into quickly and the required action will be taken against such judge. We are maintaining a zero-tolerance for corruption. If you see us going the wrong way, based on your own understanding, you should quickly call our attention because we are amenable to correction, as it is only the almighty God that is infallible.’’

Earlier in his address, the Chairman of Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN informed the host that the committee was in the court on a congratulatory visit to the Chief Justice of Nigeria for the well-deserved appointment as the Chief Judicial Officer of the Federation and wished him well in his new office.

‘’We are here to express our solidarity and also show appreciation with the way the Chief Justice of Nigeria is treating corruption cases in the court. Contrary to what people have been saying, neither I nor my committee is hostile to the Judiciary. We, therefore, urge the Supreme Court of Nigeria, being the apex court of the country, to always use Justice as the basis of judgment and not the law. Whenever there is a clash between justice and law, justice should always prevail. There should never be a situation where law will take the place of justice.’’

He craved the indulgence of the CJN and other Justices of the Supreme Court to always make sure that once there is a situation where there seems to be no remedy or a way out of a nebulous issue, they should apply their well-endowed wisdom to find a way out to save the county from any form of breakdown or chaos.

‘’We want the golden era where developed countries learn from our own Supreme Court to be re-enacted because that is the bastion of our national pride. Fighting corruption is a collective task and we are here to join forces with the Judiciary to take this anti-corruption fight to a logical conclusion for the good of our dear country. We congratulate you on your appointment and wish you a fruitful tenure’’.

Other Justices of the Supreme Court on hand to receive the visitors were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Mary Odili and Amiru Sanusi.

CJN To Swear In 38 Senior Advocates Of Nigeria On Monday

Acting CJN, Tanko Muhammad

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN),  Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, will on Monday, September 23, 2019, swear in 38 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria at the main courtroom of the Supreme Court.

The swearing-in ceremony is one of the several programmes lined up to herald the 2019/2020 legal year of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

As customary, during such programmes, the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria will deliver a state-of-the Judiciary address which is ostensible to highlight the performance of the Supreme Court, and by extension, the Nigerian Judiciary in the outgoing 2018/2019 legal year.

READ ALSO: President Buhari To Swear In Ministers August 21

It will be recalled that out of the 117 legal practitioners that applied for the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2019, 38 were successful at the end of the rigorous exercise. Out of this number, three are academics while 35 are advocates.

The Supreme Court commenced its annual vacation after a remarkably successful 2018/2019 legal year on Monday 29 July 2019.

All the programmes billed to mark the commencement of the new legal year are to start at 10:am.

 

Ubani Asks CJN To ‘Justify Honour Bestowed On Him’

Former 2nd Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani.

 

 

A former Second Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, to justify the honour bestowed on him.

Ubani, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Lunchtime Politics on Wednesday, noted that the CJN was the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, following Justice Walter Onnoghen’s exit.

He said, “He (CJN) is imminently qualified to be the CJN. If you look at his curriculum vitae, he has been the most senior of them all, in the issue of character and experience that is key. And I think he has all that in clear abundance.

“So he has to justify this particular honour that has been given to him before the Senate today because the law requires that particular input from the Senate, he has to be the one to confirm.”

“The President has sent his name recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC). This is clearly in compliance with Section 231 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). So what is going on now is a process and that process has to be completed,” the lawyer added.

READ ALSO: Justice Tanko Muhammad Seeks Executive, Legislature Partnership To Restructure Judiciary

Earlier during his screening before the Senate, Justice Muhammad said the judiciary was nothing without the other arms of government.

Ubani, in his reaction, alined himself with the position of the CJN, saying, “He is right. Judicial officials don’t actually speak for themselves.”

According to him, the NBA has a responsibility of speaking for the independence of the executive, legislative and judiciary.

While calling for an effective judiciary, the lawyer noted that a nation would be peaceful and efficient if its judicial arm was functional.

Buhari Writes CJN Over Appointment Of Supreme Court Justices

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Tanko Muhammad, over the appointment of five additional Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

According to him, the President wrote: 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.

Read Also: President Buhari Accepts Onnoghens Voluntary Retirement

This is in line with the Governments 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.”

Meanwhile, Mr Garba also noted that President Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria which took effect from May 28.

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

Onnoghen Rejects CCT’s Judgement, Files Notice Of Appeal

Onnoghen Rejects CCT's Judgement, Files Notice Of Appeal

 

Justice Walter Onnoghen has rejected the judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which convicted him of six counts of false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Shortly after the judgement delivered on Thursday, the judge filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the ruling of the Tribunal.

In the notice, a copy of which was sent to Channels Television, the “Federal Government of Nigeria” was listed as the only respondent.

READ ALSOOnnoghen Convicted, Banned From Holding Public Office For 10 Years

Part of it read, “Take notice that the appellant herein, Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel being dissatisfied with the rulings/judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Coram Danladi Umar (Chairman), William Atedze (Member I) and Julie A Anakor (Member II) delivered on the 18th of April, 2019, wherein it ruled on the application challenging its jurisdiction and to recuse itself from the proceedings as well the judgement on the substantive matter against the appellant, do hereby appeal upon the grounds set out in paragraph 3 hereof and will at the hearing of the appeal, seek the reliefs and orders set out in paragraph 4.”

In one of the 16 grounds, Justice Onnoghen said the CCT erred in law when it dismissed his application challenging its jurisdiction and thus, occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.

He added that the Tribunal erred in law when it dismissed his application seeking the chairman to recuse himself from further proceedings on the ground of “bias”.

Justice Onnoghen, however, sought an order of the appeal court allowing his appeal and that the CCT lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case.

He also asked the court to set aside his conviction as well as discharge and acquit him, among other prayers.

The Tribunal had convicted Justice Onnoghen and removed him from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

It also banned him from holding public office for the next 10 years and ordered the judge to forfeit all five accounts said not to have been declared by him between 2009 and 2015.

The Tribunal held that the government proved beyond reasonable doubt that Justice Onnoghen breached the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

Read the full document below:

Again, Supreme Court Adjourns Appeal On Rivers APC Primaries

 

 

For the second time, the Supreme Court on Thursday shifted hearing in the four appeals on the rivers state APC primary election for the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general election to Monday, April 8th and Thursday, April 11th for a hearing.

The Apex Court adjourned hearing in the matters for various reasons but mainly for the absence of counsel to INEC who was said to have missed his flight from Porthacourt.

The Appeals are those of Senator Magnus Abe against INEC and others, Mr. Tonye Cole against Senator Magnus Abe, the all progressive congress against the Peoples Democratic Party and the last one by the ap. Seeking consolidation of all the pending appeals.

Senator Magnus Abe in his appeal prayed the Apex Court to make a pronouncement on the authenticity of the direct and indirect primaries of the APC in Rivers State for the nomination of candidates.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Anglican Church Bursar In Ondo

The appellant specifically wants the court to determine which of the two appeals is known to law and should be recognized by INEC.

However, when the matter came up counsel to Senator Abe, Mr. Henry Bello informed the Apex Court of his motion seeking to amend his appeal.

The matter was stalled as a result of the absence of the INEC counsel who is the first respondent.

Although Bello sought an order to stand down the matter to enable the counsel who was said to be airborne arrive, the Acting CJN who presided over the panel ruled that the Apex court does not stand down matters for anybody or group.

This prompted the Acting CJN to adjourn the matter to Monday, April 8.

In the two other appeals by Mr. Tonye Cole, a factional governorship candidate of the APC and the party, justice mohamlad shifted hearing in the matters to april 11 to enable parties file and exchange necessary processes.

The Acting CJN who led the seven-man panel of the Apex court also abridged time for the parties to file and exchange papers because the matters are time bound, being pre-election matters.

However in a fourth appeal by the apc seeking a consolidation of all existing apoeals relating to the primary elections, the court adjourned the matter indefinitely for the party to regularise their processes.

No-Case Submission: Onnoghen Files Notice Of Appeal Against CCT Ruling

 

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, is planning to appeal the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on his ‘no-case submission’.

He disclosed this in a notice of appeal on Friday shortly after the Tribunal held that Justice Onnoghen has a case to answer in his trial over alleged non-declaration of assets.

The CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, had insisted that the judge must enter his defence on Monday next week, despite pleas to adjourn the case.

READ ALSOCCT Dismisses No-Case Submission By Suspended CJN

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Justice Onnoghen resolved to challenge the decision of the Tribunal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

He listed the “Federal Republic of Nigeria” as the sole defendant in the proposed appeal.

The judge stated that the CCT erred in law when it dismissed his no-case submission by its alleged failure to appreciate his submission that the processes that led to the criminal proceeding against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) violated the provision of the law

He added that the CCB, as a creation of the Constitution, was bound by all law made for the due process of the exercise of its powers under the law.

According to Justice Onnoghen, the members of the Tribunal erred in law when they overruled his no-case submission “when there is uncontroverted evidence” before it that there was no lawful investigation into the allegations against him.

He also claimed that the Tribunal erred in law when it dismissed his submission and refused to consider that the elements of the offence he was alleged to have committed were not proved by any legally acceptable evidence.

The suspended CJN insisted that the totality of the evidence was “hearsay”.

Read the full Notice of Appeal by Justice Onnoghen below:

Court Reserves Judgement In Two Appeals Filed By Justice Onnoghen

CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Trial Indefinitely
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The Appeal Court has reserved judgment in two appeals filed against the Federal Government by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

The court made the decision after all parties had adopted their briefs of arguments.

Read Also: CCT Grants Onnoghen Bail, Adjourns Trial Till March 11

It also adjourned judgment in a third appeal challenging the exparte order given by the CCT on the strength of which Justice Onnoghen was suspended to a date to be announced to the parties.

Justice Onnoghen had in the appeals, challenged his trial at the CCT, as well as his suspension.

Justice Onnoghen’s Appearance Before CCT In Pictures

 

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen on Friday appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for his trial.

It is the first time the embattled CJN is appearing before the CCT since the commencement of the trial weeks ago.

He is being tried over allegations of non-declaration of assets, all of which he pleaded not guilty to.

Read full details of Friday’s proceedings here.

See Photos Below

CCT Grants Onnoghen Bail, Adjourns Trial Till March 11

Suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, arrives at the CCT for his trial on non-declaration of assets on February 15, 2019.
Photo: Channels TV/ Soqiq Adelaqun

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has adjourned the case of non-declaration of assets involving the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, till March 11, 2019.

Prior to the adjournment of the case, Onnoghen was also granted bail on self-recognition.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, his counsel, Mr Chris Uche said although they were ready for arraignment, the defence had pending applications.

According to him, a bench warrant had been issued to his client.

He, therefore, asked that the order be quashed before commencing the business of the day since the defendant (Onnoghen) had appeared voluntarily.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, thereafter, set aside the bench warrant on the condition that he must make himself available throughout the trial.

‘Not Guilty Plea’

Thereafter, six counts were read to him, all of which he pleaded not guilty to.

Read Also: Onnoghen Arrives At CCT For Trial

 

In count one, he was accused of failing to fill and submit his assets declaration form within three months of being appointed the CJN.

The tribunal chairman then stopped the registrar from reading the charges and asked the CJN’s counsel if he wanted the plea to be read or take the applications.

But the counsel asked the court to proceed.

In count two, Onnoghen was accused of falsely declaring his asset after being sworn-in as CJN by failing to declare a domiciliary account which had been in operation since 2011.

In count three, he was accused of not declaring a domiciliary euro account with a commercial bank which had been in operation since 2011.

In count four, he was accused of falsely declaring after he was sworn in as CJN by failing to declare a pound sterling domiciliary account.

Read Also:  Buhari Promises Nigerians Free, Fair Elections In National Broadcast (Full Speech)

In count five, he was accused of failing to declare an e-saver savings account with a commercial bank which has been in operation since 2011.

In count six, he was accused of failing to declare a naira account with a commercial bank in Abuja which has been in operation since 2011.

His counsel then requested for bail in self-recognizance which was granted immediately.

He also informed the court that most members of the Tribunal will need to travel for the elections, and therefore, it would be necessary to adjourn the case until after the election – an application that was not opposed by the prosecution.

Consequently, Justice Umar agreed to adjourn the case till March 11 for the hearing of all pending applications, having taken full consideration of the plea of the defendant’s counsel, as well as the non-objection by the prosecution.

Onnoghen Arrives At CCT For Trial

 

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has arrived at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for his trial.

The embattled CJN had failed to show up at the CCT since it commenced the trial.

 

CJN Suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, arrives at the CCT on Friday (February 15, 2019) for his trial on non-declaration of assets. Photo: Channels TV/ Soqiq Adelequn
Suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, arrives at the CCT for his trial on non-declaration of assets on February 15, 2019.
Photo: Channels TV/ Soqiq Adelaqun

 

Consequently, on February 13, the CCT Chairman Danladi Umar ordered his arrest.

Umar issued the warrant to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest Onnoghen and bring him to the tribunal unfailingly on Friday (today).

Read Also:  CCT Orders Onnoghen’s Arrest

 

Suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, arrives at the CCT on Friday (February 15, 2019) for his trial on non-declaration of assets. Photo: Channels TV/ Soqiq Adelequn

 

He also directed the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) to join in arresting the suspended CJN.

One of his lawyers, however, told Channels Television that he was not arrested but decide to make himself available to the court.

Suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, arrives at the CCT on Friday (February 15, 2019) for his trial on non-declaration of assets. Photo: Channels TV/ Soqiq Adelequn

 

Onnoghen is facing trial over alleged failure to declare some of his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, arrives at the CCT on Friday (February 15, 2019) for his trial on non-declaration of assets. Photo: Channels TV/ Soqiq Adelequn

Onnoghen’s Trial: NBA Insists On Withdrawal Of Charges Against Suspended CJN

Onnoghen: Foreign Interference In Nigeria’s Internal Affairs Is 'Insulting' – FG
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

Ahead of Wednesday’s proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Nigerian Bar Association has once again called on the Federal Government to discontinue the charges of non-declaration of assets filed against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

In a statement issued by its President, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), on Tuesday, the NBA commended the Federal Government for adhering to due process by submitting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) petition against Justice Onnoghen to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for consideration.

The association, however, urged the government to allow the NJC conclude investigations into the two petitions so far instituted against Onnoghen at the Council, in adherence to the law and due process.

The NJC on Monday, February 11, 2019, gave Justice Onnoghen seven working days to respond to the EFCC petition against him before adjourning its sitting till Wednesday, February 13, 2019.

During Wednesday’s the sitting, the NJC is expected to review a report of its pre-assessment committee on the petitions against Justice Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

The NBA said, “Given these nonexhaustive considerations and facts, we press on the Executive arm of the FGN to please discontinue the charge against the CJN when the matter comes up before the CCT tomorrow, Wednesday, 13 February 2019.”

Read Also: Falana Writes AGF, Asks FG To Withdraw Case Against Onnoghen

A similar demand had also been made by a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), who condemned the suspension of the CJN.

Last week, he wrote to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, arguing that since a petition had been submitted to the NJC alleging grave misconduct against Onnoghen, it was unconstitutional to continue with his trial at the CCT.

Falana said, “The charge should not be allowed to hang like a Sword of Damocles on the head of the Chief Justice while he is being investigated by the National Judicial Council.”

According to him, “A public officer cannot be removed from office on the basis of an ex parte order granted by any court or tribunal in Nigeria, we (therefore) urge you (the AGF) to advise President Buhari to reverse the suspension of the Chief Justice.”