The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was conspicuously absent at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, today Monday 14th January 2019. His absence was noted at exactly 10:00 AM when the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, was called up, thus refusing to appear before the tribunal to be docked to enable him to take his plea to the six-count criminal charge against him.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, had demanded to know why the CJN was not in court and if he was served with the charge.
Responding, the head of the Prosecution Team, Alhaji Aliyu Umar, who is also a former Commissioner of Justice in Kano State, told the court that the CJN was served through one of his personal assistants.
He said “When we went to his house, he directed his personal assistant to collect the charge on his behalf. His personal assistant endorsed it, so he has been served”.
The prosecution team alleged that contrary to relevant laws regulating conduct of public office holders, the CJN, had maintained a domiciliary foreign currencies account that comprised of Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account.
Responding to the allegations, Chief Wole Olanipekun who led 46 other Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 43 other lawyers, told the tribunal that the CJN had filed a motion dated January 14, challenging jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him.
He said “We are not just challenging jurisdiction, we are even challenging the jurisdiction of this tribunal to even sniff that charge”.
In a similar development, the South-South Governors have said that President Muhammudu Buhari lacks respect for the Niger Delta region of the country.
In a communique read by chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum and governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson, the forum condemned what it termed the flagrant disobedience of court orders by President Buhari-led administration, adding that the move to arraign the CJN with barely a month to the 2019 polls is capable of heating the polity.