Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN) Walter Onnoghen has been arraigned for trial on a six-count charges which was filled by the Code of Conuduct Bereau (CCB).
The federal government has been on the trial to prosecute Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for false declaration of assets. As gathered by newsfeed.ng, Onnoghen’s trial which commence on Monday 14th of January with a host of 89 lawyers standing in of him, 46 of which are SAN. However, Onnoghen himself was not in the law court as he was represented there. Different veiws has been expressed from various quarters across the country one of which came from Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The Nigerian Bar Association in their reaction has condemed this action from the federal government describing it as intimidation and desecration of the judicial system. However, more criticism has been coming from the political corridor as regard this action from the federal government.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Paul Usoro in his statement “This continuing attack on the justice sector must cease forthwith. FGN and its agencies must desist from debasing the rule of law.
Usoro continued, “Why has FGN decided to embark on this anomalous course of charging the CJN before the CCT without first presenting whatever facts it purportedly has against His Lordship to the NJC for its deliberation and determination? The Petition that triggered the CCB action was on its face received by the Bureau on 09 January 2019 and the Charge was promptly drafted and is dated the following day, 10 January 2019 – giving the CCB a record 24 hours for completion of its investigation and the drafting of the said charge and ancillary processes. “If one contemplates the fact that the CCT arraignment is scheduled to take place on January 14, 2019, we have in all, total record number of three working days between the receipt and processing of the petition, investigation, preparation of charge and ancillary processes and the arraignment.
He affirmed, “Such unprecedented speed and efficiency in Nigeria’s criminal justice administration is not acceptable.” The human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has called for the withdrawal of the charges against Justice Onnoghen.
Comments coming from the quarters of Senate President Bukola Saraki has put his statements to the executive arm to follow the law to the letter in approaching due process and to not cause chaos in the judicial system. Among those calling for due process is Yakubu Dogara, the honorable Speaker of of the House of Representative.
The People Democratic Party have responded alleging that the Plan to prosecute the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen was aimed at destroying democracy which President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) has embarked upon
The All Progressive Party, APC in their response has referred PDP opinion as being sympathetic to corruption over the move to prosecute Justice Onnoghen.
Different reactions has been springing forth from various personalities and among them is Mike Ozekhome who described this actions of the federal government as an attempt to intimidate the judicial system. Chief Justice Onnoghen has affirmed that the federal government cannot put him on trial.