Suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Onnoghen is being arraigned for a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets.
On several occasions, he had failed to appear before the tribunal. His lawyers had challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the matter.
The appeal court also refused to stay proceedings at the CCT.
At the tribunal on Friday, Danladi Umar, CCT chairman, set aside the order for the arrest of Onnoghen before he took his plea.
Umar said the warrant of arrest has been set aside because Onnoghen appeared at the tribunal.
“He must henceforth make himself available throughout the proceedings,” the CCT chairman said.
After the plea was read, Uche Chris, counsel to the suspended CJN, applied for bail.
The counsel to the federal government did not oppose the application.
Onnoghen was then granted bail based on self-recognition.
Uche told the court that he will be voting at his constituency outside Abuja, praying the court for an adjournment till after the elections to enable him to travel for purposes of voting.
There was a lot of drama before the 11 March 2019 date was given as both counsel had discussed and agreed on either March 11 or 18, 2019, but the tribunal chairman insisted on hearing the matter next week.
It took a lot of plea from both counsels before the charge was adjourned to 11 March 2019.
Umar adjourned the matter till February 21 to hear all pending applications before the tribunal.