Onnoghen Absent As Trial Commences, The Prosecution Only Has Five Lawyers Against CJN’s Over 130

Onnoghen Absent As Trial Commences, The Prosecution Only Has Five Lawyers Against CJN’s Over 130 1

The trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has commenced without him in attendance.

Justice Onnoghen is facing six charges bordering on failure to declare his assets and operating a domiciliary account, among other charges.

The defense team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), is appearing against the Federal Government’s prosecution team with only one Senior Advocate of Nigeria and four other junior counsels.

About 30 Senior Advocates of Nigeria with a battery of about 100 other junior lawyers have so far appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja in defence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), a former Director of Public Prosecution in Kano State arrived the CCT at about 9.10am.

Upon an inquiry by the tribunal chairman about Onnoghen’s absence from court, Olanipekun said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Wole Olanipekun during the session insists that the CJN does not need to appear in court when he has not been properly served.

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

Olanipekun insisted that the law requires that the defendant be served personally.

But the prosecuting lawyer said the law only requires the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, and that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.

But after a back-and-forth argument that went on for about 45 minutes, the prosecuting counsel conceded that the service of the charges and the summons ought to have been personally served on Onnoghen.

“By what the registrar has said, although the defendant was the one who directed his personal assistant to accept service on his behalf and what the law says is that he must be personally served.

“We agree that that the service should be properly done. The processes should be served personally on him.

“If, after the service is done, and the defendant is not present, we can then argue whether or not he needs to be present on the grounds that he has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.”

The Danladi Umar-led three-man Code of Conduct Tribunal adjourned proceedings involving the charges of non-declaration of assets preferred against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, till January 22.


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  1. You are making a valid point KK. But in this case, the CJN ass has to be saved to prevent the wahala that is in the offing. Please read the article below by Charles Ogbu.

    By Charles Ogbu.
    A petition was written against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen on the 7th day of January 2019 by a former media Aide to President Muhammad Buhari, one Mr Dennis Aghanya who is also the former National publicity Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a party on which platform President Buhari contested the 2011 Presidential poll. The said Dennis is also the founder of a pro-Buhari group named The Buhari Organization (TBO). This petition was submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) two days after it was written which would be on 9th. On the same 9th, the Code of Conduct Bureau sent it to the Code of Conduct Tribunal which supposes that the CCB investigated the matter within few hours. On 10th, charges were filed against the CJN and he was served the following day being 11th with trial fixed the next working day being Monday the 14th of January 2019. Everything done within just one week.
    With just 4 weeks to a make or mar general election widely expected to end at the Supreme Court headed by the same CJN and with the knowledge that there is a subsisting 2017 court pronouncement in Nganjiwa versus Federal Republic of Nigeria to the effect that a judicial officer cannot be prosecuted until such an officer has been investigated and found guilty by the National Judicial Council, President Buhari’s action is nothing but an act of desperation which reveals so much about the psychology of the President and his handlers:
    1)The President is not the invincible Strategist some mistake him for. He’s but a desperate man living in perpetual fear. Perpetual fear of losing the election either at the polls or the Supreme Court where the case is expected to end up before the CJN. So it makes perfect sense hounding the CJN who is a southern Christian out of office knowing that next in line to the position of the CJN is a Northern Muslim. If I were a hopelessly desperate ethno-religious bigot afraid of having the Supreme Court upturn a victory I hope to secure through mindless rigging, I would behave exactly like President Buhari. But if I were a good Strategist, I would not do that because it will only end up winning more friends for the CJN and uniting the whole judiciary, legislature and those who ordinarily were not interested in the election against me. I will now be marked as a common existential threat who must be stopped at all cost. Indeed, the President and his handlers are not as sophisticated as we give them credit for. Their best take away from this is to scandalize the CJN and make him compliant but it is not even likely to work.
    2) Nigerians are being ruled by a bunch of political terrorists whose madness has no known method. They are willing and ready to do just about anything to win re-election. Burning down the whole country won’t be a problem to them if only they could rule over the ashes.
    3)Democracy, if not well guarded by men and women of conscience, can also be a victim of its own institutions. In a 2018 book by Harvard University political Scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt titled HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE, They wrote:
    “The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy—gradually, subtly, and even legally—to kill it”
    This is exactly what we’ve been witnessing under Buhari.
    The daura ex soldier is not sure of victory in the 2019 poll. Not at the polls. And certainly not at the court. All these his antics are aimed at just one thing: He simply want us to think he has already won. That way, many people won’t bother voting at all. With that, his plan to rig will be hitch-free and even the court will find it difficult upturning such fraudulent victory.
    This is no longer a case of PDP versus APC. Thia is a case of Nigerians versus a dyed-in-the-wool Autocrat. Giving up is not an option. We owe it to ourselves to come out enmass and use our votes against this enemy of Democracy and leave cases of rigging to the judiciary to handle.
    If we don’t stop this man, he will stop us.
    In all these, one truth stands out: No matter how powerful Tyrants think themselves, they always fall. The masses always win in the end.

  2. Is it not the same Buhari that accussed his political opponents of stealing/ corruption that is admitting the same accused persons into his own party..Those supporting this Buhari need their heads examined.

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