Alleged Non-asset Declaration: Onnoghen’s Absence Stalls Trial

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Walter Onnoghen
Walter Onnoghen

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, was Tuesday stalled at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Jabi, Abuja, due to sudden sickness developed Tuesday.

Onnoghen is standing trial on a six-count charge bordering on failure to declare some of his assets as required by law for public office holders.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been admitted to bail on self recognizance.

However, at the resumed hearing Tuesday, Onnoghen was absent in court for the trial.

His lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), explained to the tribunal that Onnoghen’s absence was occasioned by a tooth-ache and high blood pressure which was said to be around 210/121.

The senior counsel tendered a medical report from Ideal Medical Services, Abuja where the defendant was said to have been treated.

The medical report signed by one Dr Francis Uche, the Medical Director of the hospital, recommended among others that Onnoghen must observe 72 hours bed rest for his high blood pressure to be properly monitored.

Reacting to the development, counsel to the federal government, Aliyu Umar (SAN), admitted been copied with the letter and informed the tribunal that the issue of health is paramount in any human endeavour.

He however applied that the trial be adjourned till March 18 to enable Onnoghen have sufficient rest as recommended by his doctor.

The prosecution counsel said although his witnesses were in court and that he was ready to proceed with the trial, he however said that he had to concede to an adjournment because of the importance of the health of the defendant.

In his short ruling, the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, agreed with the position of the prosecution and the medical report and shifted the trial till next Monday.