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UPU, Uzamere urge due process in trial of Onnoghen

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Justice Walter Onnoghen

The President-General of Urhobo Progress Union Worldwide (UPU), Olorogun Moses Taiga, has advised the Federal Government to follow due process in handling the false asset charges against Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

While acknowledging that Justice Onnoghen is not above the law and immune from prosecution, Taiga said the right channel should be followed, saying: “Normally, Justice Onnoghen, as a judicial officer, should first of all face the National Judicial Council (NJC). It is only after he is found guilty by the NJC that he can be arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal or a court of competent jurisdiction.

“The UPU is worried about the speed with which the CJN is being arraigned.

“The UPU is also worried about the timing of the trial. While people can be tried at any time, the atmosphere in the country is already tensed and this trial could worsen the situation.”

Taiga, therefore, advised that the government should first follow due process and thereafter commence trial, if need be, after the election.

In the same vein, a legal luminary, Chief Osaheni Uzamere, has advised the Federal Government to follow due process before embarking on court proceedings in the trial of Onnoghen.

Uzamere, who spoke yesterday with The Guardian in Benin City, said that everything about Onnoghen’s ordeal was politically-motivated.

He described the move as political, unacceptable and rape on the judiciary.

Meanwhile, a group, the Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), has warned that parochial sentiments should not becloud the sense of reasoning of Nigerians over the plight of Justice Onneghen, who was accused of breaching code of conduct laws.

CHRICED’s Executive Director, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, who spoke with reporters in Abuja, said that it was unfortunate that some South-South governors and lawyers have gone out of their ways to blow hot air and threatened the authorities over an issue that borders on probity, accountability and transparency.

He said the case involving the CJN should have been another opportunity to send the clear message out that no one within and outside government is above the law.

He, thereby, enjoined the CJN to resign his office and allow justice to take its course, saying that failure to do so, will surely impede the integrity of the nation’s judiciary.

He also called on the Federal Government to keep close tabs on those he termed “the rabid ethnic champions” who are busy trying to stoke sectional flames over the CJN issue.

However, the National Industrial Court (NIC) has issued a restraining order against the CCT in the legal action instituted against Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

The ruling restrained the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, from proceeding with the hearing pending the determination of the substantive application before the court, which will be heard on January 21, 2019.


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