No plan to arrest Onnoghen, Justices—Presidency
The Presidency has dismissed as “fake news,” the allegations that it plans to arrest the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen and frame three other Supreme Court Justices.
“This false story is being peddled by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), apparently to set the judiciary against the executive and cause major confusion ahead of the forthcoming general elections,” the Presidency said, yesterday, in a statement signed by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. “The story is absolutely false, as the Presidency is not in any way involved in plotting against or framing anybody.
“We note that the findings of the Code of Conduct Bureau against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and the allegations arising from them are being handled by the courts in the normal way, as is expected in a democratic society like ours. The Presidency has not, and will certainly not, interfere in the process.
“We, however, want to draw the attention of the general public to this or similar false stories, which are ill motivated to further the political interests of their sponsors…”
But in documents seen by The Punch newspaper, the Federal Government, Thursday, filed a motion at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) through Musa Ibrahim and Danjuma Ali on behalf of Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the federation (AGF), seeking removal of the CJN.
The move was reportedly aimed at getting Ibrahim Muhammed, the next in line, appointed as acting chief justice pending determination of the case against Onnoghen.
In the motion, the Federal Government prayed the tribunal for an interlocutory order “directing the defendant/respondent to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and chairman of the National Judicial Council over an allegation of contravening provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act CAP C15 Laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004 pending the determination of the case.
“An interlocutory order of the honourable tribunal directing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take all necessary measures to swear in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court as an acting Chief Justice and chairman of the National Judicial Council in order to prevent a vacuum in the judicial arm of government pending determination of the case.”
The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had filed a six-count charge of false assets declaration against Onnoghen in response to a petition filed by the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI).
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