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Onnoghen asks CCT chairman to hands off case

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The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, yesterday asked the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from his asset declaration case on the ground of likely bias.The embattled jurist alleged that the chairman had convicted him without hearing or formally arraigning him before the tribunal.

Onnoghen held that Umar was a tainted arbiter since he is allegedly facing a bribery charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and could plea-bargain with his conviction.He made the prayer in a Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Rule 12(1) and (1A) of the revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016, filed in he registry of the CCT.

Listed as counsel in the application are Chris Uche (SAN); Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN); Okon Efut (SAN); Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN); Noah Abdul and George Ibrahim.He claimed through his lawyers that Umar had authored and signed an exparte order directing an “unconvicted man to step aside as CJN on account of a charge not yet before him, which is in itself, a conviction prior to arraignment and plea/trial.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had on January 25, 2019 suspended Onnoghen and swore in Tanko Muhammad as Acting CJN on the strength of the order of the CCT chair.


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