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CCT lacks jurisdiction over Onnoghen’s case, says Olanipekun

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FOLLOWING commencement of the hearing against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, on charges of non-disclosure of assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the lead Counsel to the CJN, Wole Olaonipekun on Monday disclosed that his client was not served.

Olaonipekun also stressed lack of jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear the case against the CJN.

Speaking at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), held at the CCB in Abuja, Olaonipekun emphasised that his client, the CJN does not necessarily need to be present at the hearing.

But, the Federal Government’s lawyer, Umar Aliyu also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) insisted at the Tribunal that the CJN was served, thus the hearing should hold.

He argued that Onnoghen was served through one of his Personal Assistants (PA), hence he cannot claim not to be aware of the notice.

“We went to the CJN’s house and he (Onnoghen) directed that his private secretary receive it,” he added.

In his response, Olaonipekun, who was present at the CCT with a team of over 40 lawyers also Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) noted that, “A lawyer does not insist when he is in court. A lawyer only addresses the court. A lawyer is a gentleman.

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“We cannot insist or impose ourselves on the court. The court is a master of its own court, so a lawyer will not dictate. A decent lawyer would only address and try to convince the court on what to do.

“If the court do otherwise, the lawyer have the duty to appeal but not to stay there and be saying that I insist. A lawyer doesn’t insist. I have never insisted on any matter in my life.”

He went further to say that, “When making a submission, you try to persuade the court. Not that you tell the court that the court must do this or that. The court is in charge of its own proceeding, not the lawyer but so far so good, God willing, we will be here next week Tuesday.”

Danladi Umar, the CCB Chairman, who presided over the case postponed the hearing to Tuesday 22nd January, 2019.

However, the lead counsel, Olaonipekun stressed that the Tuesday adjournment would provide better opportunity to prove lack of jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear the matter.

Justice Onnoghen is being tried for non-disclosure of assets to the CCB at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Some legal experts had claimed on wrong timing and process for the prosecution of the CJN.

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Prominent lawyer, Femi Falana had earlier challenged the Federal Government to withdraw the charges against Onnoghen.

The South South Governors at the weekend also advised the CJN to shun the CCT describing the process as such that is against normal judicial process and unhealthy for the nation’s democracy.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected] Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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