Buhari was not aware of Onnoghen’s trial, says Osinbajo
Nigeria’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo said president Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal until Saturday, 12 January.
The Nigerian government is suing the CJN for refusal to declare his assets in breach of the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
He is also being accused of maintaining domiciliary foreign currencies account which comprised Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account which are alleged to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.
Onnoghen was scheduled to face trial at the CCT over the non-declaration of assets on Monday, 14 January. The trial was adjourned to till Tuesday, January 22.
However, Osinbajo, who spoke at a conference organised by the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, themed, ‘Free Press and objective reporting in the 2019 election year’, expressed sadness over the trial.
Osinbajo said Buhari never had any knowledge of a financial misdemeanour involving the CJN until Saturday evening.
“I can tell you for a fact that he did not even know about this (CJN trial) until Saturday evening. I don’t feel good about it that senior members of my profession are being tried,” Osinbajo said.
“Sometimes, it has consequences such as we have today, such that people say, How can such an important person be subjected to trial without the Federal Government?”
“But I can tell you without any equivocation that he (Buhari) was not aware,” Osinbajo said.
He, however, said Buhari had issued specific instructions that anti-graft institutions should be allowed to do their jobs without any interference.
“I must tell you in clear terms that, for President Muhammadu Buhari, his whole approach is that institutions should just do their work. He did not even know that there was going to be any kind of trial until Saturday evening.”
“He had said categorically, ‘Don’t interfere with whatever institutions are doing,” Osinbajo said.