Appeal Court Adjourns Hearing On Onnoghen’s Suit Challenging His Suspension

 

The Appeal Court has adjourned the hearing of an appeal filed by Justice Walter Onnoghen challenging his suspension, till February 12, 2019.

The case was adjourned on the request of his lawyer who wanted the appeal heard together with two other appeals that he said were related to the trial at the CCT.

Onnoghen had last week appealed the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, ordering his suspension.

He pleaded that the chairman of the CCT and a member, Mrs Julie Anabor, had erred in law and violated the Constitution when they ordered his suspension.

He also claimed that they violated his right to a fair hearing by not giving him an opportunity for fair hearing.

He, therefore, asked the court to set aside the ruling of the CCT asking him to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and chairman of the NJC.


RELATED:

Ononghen Appeals CCT Ruling Ordering His Suspension

CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Trial Till February 13


 

Meanwhile, the trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has also been adjourned till February 13.

The adjournment followed an application made by Onnoghen’s Counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), at the resumed hearing of the case on Monday.

CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Trial Till February 13

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

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has adjourned the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen to February 13, 2019.

The adjournment followed an application made by the Defence Counsel Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), at the resumed hearing of the case on Monday.

 

Awomolo informed the tribunal that the AGF had submitted a petition to the NJC on the same subject matter which necessitated the matter before the tribunal and to avoid the defendant suffering double jeopardy, the need for adjournment became imperative.

Read Also:  NJC Gives Onnoghen, Acting CJN Seven Days To Respond To Petitions

The Prosecutor Aliyu Umar (SAN) did not oppose the application.

 

Onnoghen’s Trial Resumes At CCT

CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Trial Indefinitely
File Photo: Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

 

The trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has resumed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.

The resumption of the case follows last Wednesday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal which dismissed the application filed by the suspended CJN seeking to stop his trial at the tribunal.


REALTED:

CCT Fixes Feb 4 For Justice Onnoghen’s Trial

Appeal Court Dismisses Onnoghen’s Suit To Stop His Trial At The CCT


The court did not only dismiss the suit but also ruled that there were no special circumstances under which the prayer of the suspended CJN could be granted in the appeal.

Meanwhile, there is another pending application challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him and another where he alleges that he was denied fair hearing by the chairman of the CCT and his colleague before his suspension was ordered.

Justice Onnoghen is being tried for allegations of non-declaration of assets.

Falana Writes AGF, Asks FG To Withdraw Case Against Onnoghen

Withdraw Charges Against CJN, Falana Tells FG
File Photo: Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana

 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has again asked the Federal Government to withdraw the criminal charges filed against Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria made the call in a letter addressed to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Sunday.

He asked the minister to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the suspension as it is wrong for a public officer to be removed from office on the basis of an ex parte order granted by any court or tribunal in Nigeria.

Read Also:  Trial Of Onnoghen To Resume At CCT

The letter read in part, “Since the charge of false declaration of assets was filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau, I have repeatedly requested you to use your good offices to discontinue the case.

“My request was anchored on the case of Elelu-Habeeb vs the Attorney-General of the Federation & ORS (2012) 40 WRN 1 where the Supreme Court held that by virtue of section 292 of the Constitution of Nigeria, the head of any of the judicial arm of state and federal governments cannot be removed from office without a prior investigation conducted by the National Judicial Council.

“Having confirmed that you have since submitted a petition to the national judicial council alleging grave misconduct against the chief justice, I am compelled to request you, once again, to file a nolle prosequi to discontinue the charge pending against his lordship at the code of conduct tribunal without any further delay.

“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. In view of your implicit confidence in the ability of members of the national judicial council to resolve the matter, you ought to accede to the request to terminate the proceedings at the code of conduct tribunal forthwith.”

Falana posited that the withdrawal of the case from the Code of Conduct Tribunal would lead to the immediate vacation of the ex parte order relied upon by the president to justify the “illegal suspension” of Onnoghen and the appointment of Justice Tanko Mohammad as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He said, “Even though by virtue of paragraph 10 (2) (a) of part 1 of the fifth schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Code of Conduct Tribunal is empowered to order any public officer to vacate office, the power cannot be exercised until such a public officer has been tried and convicted for breaching the provisions of the Code of Conduct for public officers.

“But as 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 urge you to advise president Buhari to reverse the suspension of the Chief Justice”

Protesters Storm Kaduna Govt House, Demand Onnoghen’s Resignation

Protesters have stormed the Kaduna State Government House, demanding the resignation and subsequent prosecution of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

The group under the umbrella of the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Kaduna State, included women and youths.

They believe that having admitted to not declaring his assets in line with the law, the CJN ought to have resigned from office, and saved himself from further embarrassment.

Read Also: Onnoghen’s Suspension: ‘Nigeria Is Not A Colony’, Oshiomhole Replies US, UK, EU

They also faulted the statement credited to the US, UK, and EU on the matter, which according to them, amounts to a clog in the fight against corruption.

Read Also: Timing Of Onnoghen’s Suspension ‘Gives Cause For Concern’ – UK

CCT Fixes Feb 4 For Justice Onnoghen’s Trial

Tribunal Not Bound To Obey High, Industrial Court Orders – CCT Chairman
Justice Umar Danladi Justice Walter Onnoghen

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has fixed February 4 for the resumption of alleged non-asset declaration trial against Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. 

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by Ibraheem Al-Hassan, the Heads, (Press & Public Relations), Code of Conduct Tribunal.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen’s Suspension: Rule Of Law, Constitution Must Be Respected, CCJA Insists

Below is the full statement.


“Press Statement

Conduct Tribunal Fixes 4th February for resumption of alleged Non asset declaration trial against Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Following Court of Appeal ruling yesterday on the trial against Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter, on alleged non declaration of asset before Code of Conduct Tribunal is hereby fixed for Monday, 4th of February, 2019.

The decision was reached today sequel to a correspondent from Code of Conduct Bureau, applying for the resumption of trial of the case captioned; Application for resumption of trial of the case of FRN V. Hon. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel case No: CCT/ABJ/01/19, addressed to Hon. Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, dated 30th January, 2019, jointly signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq).

The request reads in part; “The above subject refers. This case came up for hearing of preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal on the 28th of January, 2019 but the Tribunal could not proceed due to the tendency of the case at the Court of Appeal.

“However, in the wake of this afternoon, 30th January, 2019 the Court of Appeal has thrown out the appeal.

“Consequently on the above, we urge the Honourable Tribunal to give us a date for resumption of the trial subject to the convenience of the Tribunal, Most obliged my Lord.

Ibraheem Al-Hassan,
Heads, (Press & Public Relations),
Code of Conduct Tribunal Headquarters,
Abuja.
January 31st, 2019.”


The CCT’s latest step comes barely a day after an Appeal Court in Abuja dismissed a suit filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, seeking a stay of execution on his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Abdul Aboki rejected the appeal, saying that the injunction is spent and the case at the CCT can continue.

The appellate court held that Justice Onnoghen’s application runs contrary to section 306 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA).

Justice Aboki who read the lead ruling cited a case of Dr Bukola Saraki in which Justice Onnoghen himself at the Supreme Court declined to stay trial of Saraki on the same ground that section 306 of the new law, did not permit the stay of criminal trial.

Appeal Court Dismisses Onnoghen’s Suit To Stop His Trial At The CCT

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

 

An Appeal Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, seeking a stay of execution on his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Abdul Aboki rejected the appeal, saying that the injunction is spent and the case at the CCT can continue.

The appellate court held that Justice Onnoghen’s application runs contrary to section 306 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA).

Justice Aboki who read the lead ruling cited a case of Dr Bukola Saraki in which Justice Onnoghen himself at the Supreme Court declined to stay trial of Saraki on the same ground that section 306 of the new law, did not permit the stay of criminal trial.

 

READ ALSO: NJC Gives Onnoghen, Acting CJN Seven Days To Respond To Petitions

The Appeal Court said that there were no special circumstances under which the prayer of Onnoghen could be granted in the appeal argued on his behalf by his lawyer Mr Wole Olanikpekun.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal had on January the 14th ruled to hear all motions that arose in the charges against Onnoghen together and give a decision on the motions.

But Onnoghen, having been dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal to hear all motions approached the court of appeal to set aside the decision of the tribunal.

His appeal was predicated on the ground that the issue of jurisdiction raised against his trial ought to be resolved one way or the other first before any other motion could be entertained.

 

Ononghen Appeals CCT Ruling Ordering His Suspension

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

 

Justice Walter Onnoghen has appealed the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, ordering his suspension.

According to the appeal, the CJN pleaded that the chairman of the CCT and a member Mrs Julie Anabor erred in law and violated the Constitution when they ordered his suspension.

He also claimed that they violated his right to a fair hearing by not giving him an opportunity for fair hearing.

He, therefore, asked the court to set aside the ruling of the CCT asking him to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and chairman of the NJC.

Read Also:

NJC Gives Onnoghen, Acting CJN Seven Days To Respond To Petitions

President Buhari Suspends Onnoghen, Swears In Mohammed As Acting CJN

Justice Onnoghen who is being tried over allegations of failing to declare his assets, was suspended from office on Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the president, the development was based on the request of the CCT, pending the completion of the trial.

Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed was, thereafter, appointed as the acting CJN.

NJC Holds Emergency Meeting Over Onnoghen’s Suspension

BREAKING: NJC Holds Emergency Meeting Over Onnoghen's Suspension
A file photo of judges during a session of NJC in Abuja.

 

The National Judicial Council (NJC) on Tuesday held an emergency meeting in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The meeting focused on the suspension of Justice Water Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, among other issues.

A former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umar Abdullahi presided over the meeting.

Channels Television gathered that neither the embattled Justice Onnoghen nor the acting CJN, Justice Ibrahim Mohammed, was allowed to preside.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday last week suspended Justice Onnoghen as CJN on the strength of an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

READ ALSONBA Demands Due Process On Onnoghen’s Removal, Backs Senate Move

The order also required the President to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court as CJN, pending the determination of the suit against Justice Onnoghen.

The suspended CJN is facing charges of false assets declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The suspension of Justice Onnoghen has triggered criticisms from various quarters, including the international community.

They raised concerns about the implication of the President’s action, especially coming close to the general elections.

Onnoghen: Only NJC Has Powers To Suspend CJN, Says Ozekhome

 

Lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, has faulted the Federal Government’s decision to suspend the Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen.

According to him the only body that has the powers to suspend a top judge is the National Judicial Council.

He said this on Monday when he made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“The Only body that has the power to suspend is the NJC and since the Chief Justice is involved, all they need to do is to convene and the Chief Justice will not seat to chair it.

“The CJN occupies a special place like the Chief Judges that I’ve referred to and the grand cadre it’s not just like any judicial officer. For you to remove him or even any other judicial officer, the NJC must meet,” Ozekhome said.

Onnoghen’s Suspension: Senate Approaches Supreme Court, Cancels Tuesday’s Plenary

CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Alleged False Asset Declaration Case Indefinitely

 

His comments come days after President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the CJN, who is being tried over allegations of failing to declare his assets.

According to the president, the development was based on the request of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, pending the completion of the trial.

Following the suspension, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed was appointed as the acting CJN.

Ozekhome, however, stressed that with or without an exparte order, the President has no right to suspend the CJN.

He said, “No, no, no. He does not have the power. Whether on an exparte order or on a motion on notice or even on a court judgement because the powers of appointment and suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria are matters that are governed by the clear provisions of the Constitution.

“Sections 153, sections 158, Section 291, Section 292 (2) and the third schedule Section 21 part 1 and 2 of the 1999 Constitution.

“They say it is the NJC that nominates a person for appointment to the CJN. Then the CJN by 2/3rd majority vote confirms that appointment.

“The President merely plays a nominal role of now swearing in that person.

“It is the same route you follow when you are dismissing. The NJC recommends, the Senate by 2/3rd majority approves, then the president can remove”.

Onnoghen: Anybody Who Contravenes The Law Should Be Sanctioned – Farouk Aliyu

 

A former member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Aliyu, says anyone who contravenes the law should be properly sanctioned.

He said this when he made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday in reaction to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

According to him, the CJN himself admitted to the offence and regardless of how close the general elections are, adequate sanctions should be taken.

He said, “We are faced as a nation, with the Chief Justice of a Nation, who has been alleged to have faked or not declared his assets properly & he himself admitted, so you can’t expect the President or the country to look by.

“Should we as a Nation just stand by and allow somebody (the CJN) in his calibre to do what he did and just because of elections?

“Nigerians know and see exactly what is happening, look anybody who contravenes the law should be sanctioned”.

Read Also: Only NJC Has Powers To Suspend CJN, Says Ozekhome

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday suspended Mr Onnoghen, who is being tried over allegations of failing to declare his assets.

According to the president, the development was based on the request of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, pending the completion of the trial.

But lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, who was also a guest on the programme (Politics Today) on Monday, stressed that with or without an exparte order, the President has no right to suspend the CJN.

“No, no, no. He does not have the power. Whether on an exparte order or on a motion on notice or even on a court judgement because the powers of appointment and suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria are matters that are governed by the clear provisions of the Constitution,” he said.

“The Only body that has the power to suspend is the NJC and since the Chief Justice is involved, all they need to do is to convene and the Chief Justice will not seat to chair it.

“The CJN occupies a special place like the Chief Judges that I’ve referred to and the grand cadre it’s not just like any judicial officer. For you to remove him or even any other judicial officer, the NJC must meet”.

CJN Onnoghen Denies Resigning

Walter Onnoghen Sworn-In As Chief Justice Of Nigeria
Justice Walter Onnoghen

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen has denied media reports that he has resigned following his suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to a statement by his media aide, Awassam Bassey, the CJN described as ‘Fake News’ all reports suggesting that he has resigned.

“Mischief makers are still circulating this fake news. Once again, no truth in it whatsoever. The Hon CJN, Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has not resigned”, Awassam Bassey said.

READ ALSO: Agbakoba Submits Petition Against Acting CJN, Tanko Mohammed

There have been several speculations regarding Justice Onnoghen case at the Code Of Conduct Bureau.

President Buhari suspended Justice Onnoghen on Friday, January 25, Justice Tanko Mohammed was sworn in to serve as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The President’s move has since generated diverse reactions across the country and even in the international community.