CJN Walter Onnoghen Absent At Code Of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Sends 90 Lawyers To Defend Him

Walter Onnoghen

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, was absent as the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) commenced sitting on Monday.

The federal government had filed a six-count charge of false asset declaration against Onnoghen while the tribunal summoned him to appear before it.

At least 47 senior advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and 42 other lawyers were at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the trial which was presided over by the chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar.

The tribunal had summoned Onnoghen following a petition submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) by a civil society group identified as the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI).

The CJN was accused of false declaration of assets and a six-count charge was filed against him.

Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Onnoghen, challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the matter.

He said Onnoghen had not been indicted by the National Judicial Council (NJC), the body responsible for probing allegations levelled against serving judges.

Olanipekun said the CJN was not given enough time to prepare for his arraignment before he was summoned by the tribunal.

But Aliyu Umar, counsel to the federal government, said since the CJN has been served with the summons, he ought to be arraigned.

Umar said the trial could not proceed in Onnoghen’s absence but Olanipekun said the issue of the trial could not arise because the jurisdiction is being challenged.

The CCT chairman adjourned the matter till January 22.

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