CCT orders CJN Onnoghen’s arrest
The Code of Conduct Tribunal Wednesday has ordered the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Security Service to arrest the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Onnoghen was absent again when the tribunal, where he is facing trial over allegations of non-declaration of assets, resumed on Wednesday.
Buhari in January suspended Onnoghen and replaced him with the Supreme Court’s second-ranking judge, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, in an acting capacity.
The president said he acted on the order of the Conduct Tribunal.
The suspension was roundly criticized by opposition leaders and the legal community, while the U.S. and European Union said it could undermine the February 16 poll.
The main opposition People’s Democratic Party said it was “an act of dictatorship.”
The three judges at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, headed by Danladi Umar, ordered the security agencies to produce Onnoghen at the tribunal on Friday.
Umar dismissed the objection raised to the application for the issuance of the arrest warrant.
“I want to see the defendant in the dock on Friday,” he said.
The CCT made the order following an application by the lead prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), who said the consistent absence of the CJN from the CCT was a violation of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Umar maintained that by virtue of section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 no objections could be raised by the defendant until he took his plea.
The prosecuting counsel said Onnoghen having not taken his plea, the objection by him could not be heard.
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