Court Halts Onnoghen’s Arraignment over Alleged Non-declaration of Assets

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday temporarily halted the arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The CCT had Friday, last week, scheduled the arraignment of the CJN for Monday, January 14, 2019, before a three-man panel of the tribunal.

But Justice Maha, in a short ruling on two separate ex-parte applications brought before the court, ordered parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the exparte motion.

The judge before adjourning the matter till January 17, also ordered that the defendants be served with all the processes filed and they should appear in court at the next hearing.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 and filed by incorporated ‎trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami; the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar; the National Judicial Council (NJC); the Inspector-General of Police (IG), ‎Mr. Ibrahim Idris; and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, were joined as defendants.

‎The other suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 and filed by the incorporated ‎trustees of the International Association of Students Economists and Management, has as defendants, AGF and Minister of Justice Malami, the CCT, the CCB, the Chairman of CCT Danladi Umar, and IG ‎Idris.

While the ex parte application in the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was moved by Mr. R.A Lawal-Rabana (SAN), before Justice Maha on Monday, the ex parte application filed in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 ‎was moved by Mr. Jeph Njikonye.

Justice Onnoghen has been charged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on a six-count criminal charge bordering on alleged non-declaration of assets.

He was however absent from court for his arraignment on grounds that he has not been served with the CCT summons.

He would also be challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to entertain the suit when the matter resumes on January 22.