The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has ordered the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
Onnoghen is facing six charges of non and fraudulent declaration of assets relating to his failure to declare a series of bank accounts, denominated in local and foreign currencies, as required by law.
However, ever since the case commenced at the CCT on January 14, 2019, Onnoghen has refused to show up for hearings, leading Justice Danladi Umar to insist at the last hearing that he must appear to enter a guilty or not guilty plea.
Then again when the case resumed on Wednesday, February 13, Onnoghen was once again absent, leading the Aliyu Umar-led prosecution team to request a bench warrant to be issued against him.
In his ruling, Justice Umar directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, and other law enforcement agencies to arrest and produce Onnoghen before the tribunal during its next adjourned date of February 15.
In reaction, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) described the arrest as ‘ridiculous’ and called on Nigerians to come out in mass on Friday to protest the CCT’s directive that Onnoghen should be arrested by security agents.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by the coalition’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, CUPP condemned the move by the CCT, saying it is stage managed. The statement reads:
“The warrant of arrest issued against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal has confirmed the position of the Coalition of United Political Parties that the Presidency has intensified efforts to clamp down on the CJN and use the stage-managed offensive against the CJN to intimidate the judiciary and divert attention from the issues of Incompetence of the Buhari led APC govt.
“The arrest order and planned arraignment of the CJN few hours to election is a failed plot to use Buhari’s fake anti-corruption fight to lure voters into believing the President is fighting corruption.
“With this order, President Muhammadu Buhari has taken his naked dance in the market place to a ridiculous level.
“It is ridiculous that a government that has been promising free and fair elections can be planning to arraign the country’s CJN on Friday, 24 hours to the country’s presidential election.
“We see this as a last minute effort to divert attention, confuse Nigerian voters and cover the President’s incompetence few hours to election.
“It is also an attempt to divert attention from electoral violence being planned by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“We, therefore, call for a mass protest across the 36 states of the federation on Friday, being the day scheduled for the arraignment of the CJN.
“Friday is dedicated as a National Action Day Against the rampaging Dictator. All Non-Governmental organisations, activists and political parties should hold rallies at their local government areas, states and at the federal level.
“All lawyers, activists, youths and opposition politicians must stage protests and remain vigilant from Friday till Sunday to avoid the political barbarians using the CJN matter to divert attention and sneak in to steal the will of the people.”