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Why tribunal adjourned Onnoghen’s arraignment

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Defence counsel comprising 40 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 50 other lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN with the Prosecution team led by Aliyu Umar, SAN (2nd right), during the beginning of the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja yesterday
Case comes up Jan 22
Court stops CCT
‘Why we delayed charge’
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen was absent yesterday as the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) heard allegations of false asset declaration against him.

The Chairman of the CCT Justice Danladi Umar has however adjourned the arraignment to Tuesday, January 22 to enable proper service of summons be effected on the CJN.

A team of over 90 lawyers, including over 40 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) led by Wole Olanipekun, challenged the jurisdiction of the CCT to hear the case against Justice Onnoghen.

Olanipekun said the position of the law is that where a defendant is challenging the jurisdiction of the court, the defendant does not have to be in court.

He said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

He added that from the account given by the official of the tribunal earlier in the proceedings, the CJN was not served with the charges and summons personally, but through his aide.

He argued that Section 123(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) has directed that in a criminal case, the summons must be personally served on the defendant.

However, prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN) said the defendant was aware of the provisions but of his own volition directed the court registrars to serve the summons on his personal secretary.

“There is no law that says a defendant may refuse to appear before the court and say he is protesting against the jurisdiction of the court. He has to come to the tribunal and can then refuse to take his plea,” he said.

After minutes of argument from both parties, Umar applied to the tribunal to issue another summons on the CJN. He made this application after conceding to the impropriety of the earlier service based on the provisions of the ACJA.

Tribunal adjourns case to Jan 22

He however asked the tribunal to order that the summons be served personally on the CJN and not received on his behalf so as to avoid what earlier happened.

The chairman of the tribunal’s three-man panel, Danladi Umar, while ruling on the application, initially said the fresh summons must be served on the CJN between Monday and Wednesday, and that the trial would resume on Thursday.

However, Olanipekun appealed that no date in this week would be convenient for the defence. He also queried the perceived haste with which the case was moving from the moment the charge was filed.

“Justice also entails fairness. With all respect, this matter started on Friday, why the speed of lightning? We are talking of service and the tribunal is talking about this week? I want to ask, why the hurry”, he asked.

After several back and forth, the tribunal adjusted its earlier scheduling and adjourned the case to January 22.

The chairman also ruled that the defendant’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal and the prosecution’s motion on notice would be taken together on the day.

Daily Trust reports that Olanipekun announced the names of over 40 SANs who were in the tribunal as part of the CJN’s defence team.

They include: Adegboyega Awomolo, Kanu Agabi, Yusuf Ali, Chris Uche, Hassan Hassan, Paul Erokoro, S.I. Ameh, Sebastine Hon, Magaji Mahmoud, James Onoja, Akinlola Kehinde, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, Victoria Awomolo, Tawo Tawo, Muyiwa Akinbolohun, Varile Azinge, Abdul Ibrahim, Olubowale Taiwo, Garba Tetengi, Offiong Effiong, Patrick Okolo and Kehinde Ogunwumiju.

Onnoghen reports for work

Daily Trust reports that the CJN reported for work in his office at the Supreme Court premises in Abuja yesterday.

Sources told Daily Trust that the CJN, who usually arrive the court around 8 am when he is to preside over a panel, arrived the office around 9 am as he was not sitting on Monday and stayed in his office until the close of work.

However, a panel of the Supreme Court presided by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour sat briefly over about seven civil appeals and rose before 11.30 am.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) filed a six-count charge against the CJN over alleged failure to declare his asset upon assumption of office as provided in Section 15 (1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act C15, punishable under Section 23 (2) (a) (b) and (c) of the same Act.

But the CJN was absent at the CCT, citing lack of personal service of the summons in line with Section 123 of the ACJA.

Court restrains CCT from arraigning CJN

A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an interim injunction restraining the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from trying the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Justice E.N. Maha on Monday ordered for status quo that exists as at January 14, 2019 and “shall not take steps that will interfere with the RES or subject matter of the suit pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

The ex parte application was brought by a group of students of Economics through their lawyer, J.C. Njikonye challenging the proceeding at the CCT in Abuja.

But the Incorporated Trustees of International Association of Student Economists and Management had filed the action against the Attorney General of the Federation, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the chairman of CCB and the Inspector General of Police.

The group had asked the court to make an interim injunction restraining the defendants from arresting, arraigning, prosecuting, charging the CJN or giving effect to charge no: CCT/ABJ/01/19 on the grounds that Section 153 (1) (i), 158(1) and Paragraph 21 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution “pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed together with this application.”

The case was adjourned to January 17 for hearing.

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13 Comments Nigeria News
iammicharles• 11 months ago
All na scam
Olite1996• 11 months ago
see reason
Danson92• 11 months ago
Iamajtofunmi• 11 months ago
yetty031009• 11 months ago
yetty031009• 11 months ago
Fatimabello• 11 months ago
innkayobami• 11 months ago
olakunle031009• 11 months ago
anthonyo• 11 months ago
AdetolaAkomolafe• 11 months ago
Okay nw..
Irphilippe• 11 months ago
Abiodun• 11 months ago

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