Order Halting Forceful Removal of CJN from Office Subsists, Says Industrial Court

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  • Orders substituted service of process on CCT Chairman
  • Adjourns hearing till Jan. 30

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Abuja has said that his earlier order restraining the federal government and his agents from forcefully removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, from office over non-disclosure of assets charges filed against him subsists.

Onnoghen’s scheduled arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal last week was adjourned till Tuesday, January 22 owing to improper service of the tribunal’s summons on the defendant.

Also, last week, Justice Kado, while ruling on an exparte seeking the court’s intervention on the planned removal of Onnoghen from office as a result of his trial at the CCT halted the scheduled trial by ordering all parties in the suit to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the main suit.

Defendants in the suit filed by Peter Abang, include the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Senate President.

Justice Kado in granting the exparte last week said he was inclined to do so in order to avert a threat and constitutional breaches regarding the position of the CJN as the number one judicial officer of the country.

Consequenty, he adjourned till January 21, to enable service of hearing notice on all the defendants.

However when the matter came up for hearing, Monday, the claimant counsel, James Igwe, informed the court that originating processes and the interim order had been served on all the defendants in the suit, except the 2nd defendant.

According to Igwe, the CCT Chairman, had directed his Secretary to accept service on his behalf.

He then applied to the court for permission to serve the CCT Chairman through substituted means.

Responding, Presiding judge, Justice Sanusi Kado, ordered that the processes and the interim order should be served on the chairman of the CCT through substituted means and pasted on the walls of the CCT.

He subsequently adjourned till 30th January for hearing of pending motion and the substantive suit.

Details later…