FOR the second time, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, shunned the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and failed to answer questions on a case of false assets declaration brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Onnoghen was expected to appear before the three-man tribunal panel today Tuesday 22nd January, in Abuja to stand trial.
CCB Chairman, Danladi Umar had previously adjourned the hearing following arguments from the prosecuting lawyer representing the Federal Government, Umar Aliyu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the defence counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
Olanipekun during the last hearing had argued that his client was not personally served and that the CJN must not necessarily appear before the tribunal.
However, the Federal Government’s lawyer at today’s hearing asked the CJN to step aside pending the time the case at the tribunal would be resolved.
Aliyu urged the court to proceed with the hearing and ignore all the restraining orders by the High Courts, stressing that the High Courts lack jurisdiction over the CCT but Olanipekun insisted on the need for the tribunal to honour the restraining orders made by the High Courts.
According to Olanipekun, this became imperative to respect judicial hierarchy, adding that the Appeal Court had already appointed a date for the hearing.
The tribunal panel eventually suspended the hearing for an hour in order for both lawyers to present their arguments and for the panel to consider their individual positions.
Despite the perceived persecution, the CJN appeared alongside President Muhammadu Buhari and other prominent Nigerians to honour the deceased military officers at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day held last Tuesday, January 15.