Court of Appeal dismisses Onnoghen’s suit challenging suspension
The Court of Appeal Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Nkannu Onnoghen, challenging the decision of the Code
of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which ordered his suspension from office pending the verdict of the Tribunal.
The appellate court held in its judgment that the matter had already been overtaken by events wherein the CCT had already made a conviction on the CJN on the charge of non-declaration of assets.
Three of the four appeals filed by Justice Onnoghen’s were considered academic since the issuance of an exparte order by the CCT on January 23, 2019, upon which it was premised, had been concluded by the CCT. The fourth was held incompetent.
The Justice Stephen Adah-led panel held that the CCT proceedings ought not to have been conducted “in a shady or clandestine maneuver” in the manner the exparte order was obtained by the prosecution.
It may be recalled that the National Judicial Council (NJC) recently recommended the retirement of Onnoghen to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NJC had after a deliberation on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, unanimously reached an agreement that Onnoghen should be retired over petitions filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Besides, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has reportedly summoned President Buhari, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, and others to appear over Onnoghen’s removal as the head of the judiciary.
Justice Inyang Ekwo also directed members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Senate to appear and show reason they should not be restrained from initiating the confirmation of Justice Muhammad as substantive CJN.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal is yet to fix a date for the hearing of Onnoghen’s appeal challenging his conviction by the CCT.