Abuja Lawyer Sues Lai Mohammed Over Alleged ‘False Claims’ Against Onnoghen

An Abuja based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, has filed a suit against the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, over an alleged ‘false’ claim he made on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, that he ran a suspicious transaction running into dollars.

Premium Times reported that the suit, which was filed by the plaintiff has Mr Mohammed as the defendant.

According to Mr Jideobi in the suit, the minister made reckless statements.

“I know as a fact that the Defendant was extremely reckless in levying an accusation of gargantuan magnitude against the country’s highest judicial office and had no reason to believe in the truth of his assertion of traces of suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the suspended CJN’s personal accounts.

“I know as a fact that obvious lies the Defendant peddled against the Honourable Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel was aimed to destroy him thereby making a caricature of the country’s highest judicial office and turning the entire Judiciary of a nation into a laughing stock,” Mr Jideobi added.

The plaintiff wants the court to determine the following:

“Whether or not upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff, the Defendant has failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and engaged in conducts unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

“Whether or not upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff this is not a deserving case for this Honourable Court to refer the Defendant to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action?

“Upon the determination of the above question, the plaintiff is, therefore, seeking a court declaration, that upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff, the Defendant has failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and engaged in conducts unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

“A declaration of this Honourable Court that upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff this is a deserving case for this Honourable Court to refer the Defendant to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action.”

Consequent upon this, Mr Jideobi is seeking an order of court “committing the Defendant forthwith to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee [LPDC] for proper disciplinary action”.

He also seeks a public apology from Mr Mohammed.

“An order of this Honourable Court commanding the defendant to write a letter of apology and address same to the Body of Bencher reversing himself on the false allegation he laid against the Honourable Justice Onnoghen Walter Samuel and cause same to be published on two National Dailies within Seven (7) days from the date of the delivery of judgment herein and consequently file [at the Registry of this Court] an affidavit of compliance with the said publication attached.”

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The Suspension Of The Chief Justice Of Nigeria (CJN) On The Order Of The Code Of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), By Ussiju Medaner

The ongoing saga about the suspension of the CJN (Justice Walter S. Onnoghen) by President Buhari and the immediate appointment of CJN (Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed) in an Acting Capacity pending the resolution of the case of the suspended CJN has generated opinionated interests. The decision to suspend the CJN is based on an Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) issued on Wednesday January 23, 2019 directing that the CJN, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen be suspended.

In the case against the Hon. Justice Onnoghen before the CCT, he the suspended CJN had accepted, in written submission, that he forgot to declare the assets ($3 million, equivalent of ?1,095,000,000) he owned as alleged. This act by Justice Onnoghen trespassed on the law which is a serious violation of the Code Of Conduct Bureau Act ,thus, he has to be called to answer, but how could he answer to the law which he oversees?

The CJN is in control of all most appointments and major actions in the NJC and the Judiciary to some extent. Perhaps, that was wisdom of the CCT to Ordered for his suspension so that he could not be standing trial while retaining the sacred office of the CJN. How is it possible that a civil servant who has no business investments own 55 houses, does not touch his salary for years and even forgot to declare having an amount as large as $3 million?

In saner and more deorum climes, it would be expedient of the CJN to have removed himself from office by resigning to avoid interference with the case before the CCT. Sadly, the Hon. Justice Onnoghen did not do the needful. He instead endeavoured to frustrate the efforts of the court by stalling the proceedings at the CCT. This is the same Justice Walter Onnoghen who had ruled that the CCT is not answerable to any other court in the course of undertaking its constitutional duties.

To further ensure that the National Judicial Council (NJC) does not act towards his suspension, he postponed the NJC meeting indefinitely without reasons. The questionable part in the behaviour of Justice Onnoghen is his attempt to set up the election petition tribunal on a Saturday which is not an official working day. This could be the reason for how several mandates were surprisingly lost in the election petition tribunal after the 2015 general elections.

And in the event that election tribunal cases get to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the suspended CJN Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen would lead his fellow justices to rule in favour of those under whose payroll he has made so much fortune? And of course nothing can be done because the Supreme Court ruling supersedes any other court ruling.

As Mr President remarked in his speech while suspending the CJN, there is an ‘alarming rate in which the Supreme Court of Nigeria under the oversight of Justice Walter Onnoghen has serially set free, persons accused of the most dire acts of corruption, often on mere technicalities, and after quite a number of them have been convicted by a trial and appellate courts.’ This goes to prove that the Judiciary as an arm of government in Nigeria has been compromised and the service of justice now goes to the highest or associated bidder.

The Constitution did not speak about the suspension of the CJN only of the removal. But Section 11 of the Interpretation Act states unequivocally that:

‘Where an enactment confers powers to appoint a person either to an office or to exercise any function, whether for a specific period or not, the power includes: power to remove, or suspend him …’

Though the CJN cannot be unilaterally removed from office by the President without recourse to the to the Senate, in this particular matter it was the CCT( a court recognized by constitution ) that ordered the President to be suspend him so as to allow for non-interference in his own trial by the system which he oversees. If the CJN is found innocent of the charges against him, he shall be reinstated back into his office. This is the norm in any sane society that he cannot be the judge in his own case.

The leading Anti- Buhari lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) recently remarked on the suspension of the CJN saying:

‘The alleged suspension from office of the CJN is the vilest, thieving, most despicable, ultra vires, undemocratic and brazenly unconstitutional act ever carried out by any government in Nigeria, civilian or military, since 1st January, 1914, when the contraption called Nigeria was forcibly contrived through the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates.’

‘The desperate act of a sit-tight president constitutes a direct suspension of the Nigerian Constitution and the entire democratic process.’ –(Daily Trust, January 25, 2019).

He had remarked in the case of Sanusi Lamido citing the Interpretation Act as:

‘In the case of Sanusi, section 5 of the CBN Act says the president can appoint him subject to confirmation by the Senate and the president can dismiss him subject to two-thirds of vote of the Senate. There was no provision for suspension. Then I brought in section 11 of the Interpretation Act, and it says he who can appoint can also dismiss and can also suspend. That was my argument, so there was no contradiction between my argument then and my argument now.

That was how section 11 of the Interpretation Act came in. We have seen that President Jonathan can hire and fire, going by the Interpretation Act; it’s a case of employer-employee or master-servant relationship. There is no contradiction at all; I am not a self-revisionist. I cannot contradict myself. I know myself. I have been consistent since the last 36 years and I still stand by the same argument.’ (The Interview, September 3, 2017).

‘One of the legal principles of statutory interpretation is that whatever is not stated is excluded and since suspension was not specifically mentioned in the CBN Act, it means it was excluded.’

‘Such argument forgets its sister principle of statutory interpretation that what is not forbidden or outlawed is allowed. In other words, if a law does not specifically say you cannot do this, it means you can do it.’ (Channels TV, February 24, 2014).

Above are the comments of Mike Ozekhome showing his double standards as regards the suspension of the NJC. The fight against the severed CJN should have been led by the Judiciary itself: to strengthen the Executive in the fight against judicial corruption. This is because the Judiciary stands as the last hope of every nation. Every other arm or aspect of government may fail in its duties and obligations but it is the Judiciary that cannot afford to fail: it is the soul and conscience of the nation. This raises the question again as to why the Judiciary is not in the lead, as a proponent for justice, on the Onnoghen case.

From the case of Nganjiwa vs FRN (2017) LPELR-43391(CA), it was revealed that:

‘It must be expressly stated that if a judicial officer commits theft, fraud, murder or manslaughter, arson and the likes, which are crimes committed outside the scope of the performance of his official functions, he may be arrested, interrogated and prosecuted accordingly by the state directly without recourse to the NJC.’

This makes it very clear that the offence for which the CJN is being arraigned falls within the jurisdictional purview of the CCT. This is not a professional/ethical violation within the judicial realm. In a judgement delivered by Justice Walter Onnoghen on July 12, 2013, he affirmed that the CCT had the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all violations that contravene any provision of the CCB, that:

‘If I may repeat, the Code of Conduct Tribunal has been established with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all violations contravening any of the provisions of the Code as per paragraph 15(1). This provision has expressly ousted the powers of ordinary regular courts in respect of such violations.’

By these words of the CJN himself during a judgement in 2013, and with the circumstances about this case of his non-declaration of assets now, can the NJC not be regarded as one of the “ordinary regular courts”? He had also stated earlier that:

‘Any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this Code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau.’

‘The foregoing provisions are clearly unambiguous and so construed literally mean that any breaches of any provisions of the said 5th Schedule or matters of noncompliance with any provisions of the Code shall, (meaning that it is mandatory i.e. must) be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau that has established its Tribunal with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with any violations of any provisions under the Code.’

These are the words of Hon. Justice Onnoghen in 2013 asserting the powers of the CCT in matters as he is currently involved now, in the case (SC.279/2012) before Justices Walter S. Onnoghen, Christopher Mitchell, Chukwuma-Eneh, Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Clara Bata Ogunbiyi and Kumai Bayang Aka’ahs. Now what is the tyranny of the President in adhering with the Order from a constitutionally approved authority?

Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) ousts the powers of the courts in granting stay of proceedings:

‘An application for stay of proceedings in respect of a criminal matter before the court shall not be entertained.’

The above is as succinct as to have proved that the CJN and his numerous junior colleagues have abused court processes. Thus by procuring Orders from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) and the Federal High Court (FHC) which directs the CCT to suspend the trial of the CJN, they have goofed because the NICN and the FHC are both courts of coordinate jurisdiction alongside the CCT, hence cannot direct the CCT.

  1. The Legislature lack the jurisdiction to etertain this issue, Order 9 Rule 1(5) of the Standing Order of the House states:

‘Reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending, in such a way as might, in the Speaker’s opinion, prejudice the interest of the parties thereto’

Furthermore, Order 41(7) of the Senate Standing Order states that:

‘The Senate shall not receive any petition or any matter for that which there is a judicial remedy.’

Similarly, ”Senate Standing Order 53(5) says reference should not be made on any matter in which the judicial decision is pending in such a way that it might in the opinion of the President of the Senate prejudice the interest of the parties thereto

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a Press Release on Monday, January 28, 2019, cancelled the resumption in plenary which was scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2019, and maintains the earlier fixed date of February 19, 2019. This could be a plot to keep the APC Senators away from the planned plenary so that they can hold a kangaroo court plenary in order to gain the simple majority required by law to institute case against the Executive.

Hence we call on all APC members to very vigilant over such development. The Senate has also sought the interpretation of the suspension of the CJN by Mr President and whether the role of the Senate has been undermined in the process. It is on record that there has never been a time when the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria met to take a resolution, or mandate any person to approach the Supreme Court of Nigeria in its stead. That is another illegal step . the resolution of simple majority required by the constitution before the Senate or House of Representatives can be able to file any complaint in the supreme court against any Executive action or inaction (as the case may be). The Schedule of the Supreme Court (Additional Original Jurisdiction) Act (Section 2.] states:

  1. Neither the National Assembly nor State House of Assembly shall institute or initiate legal proceedings under this Act except upon the resolution of the House passed by a simple majority of the members of that House present and sitting at the time the resolution is put to vote.
  2. No legal proceedings shall be initiated or instituted by or on behalf of the National Assembly under the Act except upon the resolution which has been passed by both Houses of the National Assembly by a simple majority of the members of each House present and sitting at the time the resolution is put to vote.
  3. The PDP which has spearheaded corruption at all levels of governance, displayed disregard for law and order, engaged in wanton abuse of office, and other forms of flaws in governance, are calling for the reinstatement of Onnoghen without approaching the court to reverse such to challenge the CCT Order. What does this imply to any sane mind who knows the ideologies the PDP stand for? What interest is the PDP trying to protect and at what point did the PDP become an arbitrator for the judiciary and the suspended CJN? Why is the PDP with its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar always in defence of any official who has been accused of corrupt and unlawful practices? Is it because of the elections tribunal hearings in some states about the 2015 elections which went their way under the watch of the CJN at the Supreme Court of Nigeria where the rulings of the Tribunal Courts were upheld by the Court of Appeal and such were upturned by the Supreme Court in their favour?
  4. The PDP has been biased with their reactions to issues relating to the polity in Nigeria. From recent trends backwards: there was no sound made from any quarters when Kemi Adeosun took to the path of honour to resign as Honourable Minister of Finance over the controversy in her NYSC certificate; they made no fuss when Babachir Lawal was removed by Mr President and facing the EFCC investigation; there was no threat to national existence when the former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was arbitrarily fired; likewise Justice Ayo Salami was sacked for not tendering an apology and Nigeria did not explode.
  5. The PDP has delusions of grandeur and they are desperate to take power at all cost. They would have been happier if President Buhari were acting like the presidents they produced over their 16 years of misrule and flagrant abuse of power. They are too proud to learn the art of leadership from an honest leader with integrity; rather they choose to abuse all his good deeds. He has not removed any governor as they did. He has offered soft loans to petty traders and has paid cash to the poorest in the society and they are wailing and chanting ‘vote-buying’, but they were mute and jubilating when Dasuki was being a Santa Clause with money meant for arms to combat insurgency, they rejoiced in silence.
  6. The PDP has failed to reconcile all the facts associated with the case of the CJN. The hypocrisy with which they relay the issue is disheartening for any lover of democracy. The single question remains: despite the confession of the CJN Mr Onnoghen, bordering on forgetfulness which is not a legal excuse, is false declaration of asset, or whatever they choose to called it a crime or not? If it is, which court/body does the jurisdiction of such a crime fall under? How can PDP accuse Buhari of tyranny when they were an embodiment of a tyrannical government for 16 years? The PDP cannot survive if corruption is dead, and that is the reason they are always behind the corrupt elites. The PDP’s interest in the continuous stay of the suspended CJN Justice Walter Onnoghen is definitely for ulterior motives beyond what catches the eyes.
  7. The PDP is trying hard to ensure that they manipulate the elections as they have always endeavoured in the past. With the recent conviction of two INEC staff (sentenced to 90 years imprisonment) on their payroll during the 2015 elections, the PDP should be silent and accept the grim fate that awaits them at the polls come February 16, 2019. This is proof that the PDP has nothing good in stock for Nigerians: the main reason they refuse to centre their campaigns on fundamental issues but rather on ignorable fables. The PDP even summoned the guts to call on all Nigerians to protest. What kind of protest would that be, a protest for grand corruption and impunity to be restored with triumph over good? A protest to terminate the current infrastructural development that Nigerians can see, unlike in the 16 years of the PDP where nothing can be seen visibly? A protest for the destruction of Nigerian industries and companies to bring back the 16 years of PDP’s misrule? What protest please?
  8. All the schemes of the PDP have failed them: from the Dubai agenda, to the myriads of lies upon lies they keep feeding Nigerians. Their plot to use money to gain the office of the President which is in line with the remark Obasanjo made about Atiku Abubakar who believes that money can buy him whatever he needs in any situation. But Nigerians want to grow. Nigerians are tired of being identified and referred to as criminals in every part of the world. Nigerians are tired of living without the basic infrastructural requirements. And these are the ultimate reasons they will re-elect President Muhammadu Buhari with Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to continue with the work they are doing in the Next Level.

As it has always been, in all humility I welcome constructive conversations on the above submission…. Pundits over to you!

May Nigeria Succeed!

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Breaking: Appeal Court Dismisses Onnoghen’s Suit Against CCT

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen seeking stay of execution on his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The decision by the appeal court comes one day after the National Judicial Council gave Justice Onnoghen seven days to respond to allegations of false asset declaration.

Onnoghen had approached  the court, arguing the CCT had no jurisdiction to preside over the case.

The federal government is prosecuting Onnoghen at the CCT for alleged false assets declaration.

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Buhari Obeys CCT’s Order To Suspend Justice Onnoghen

President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, over an alleged false assets declaration charges.

President Buhari, who announced the suspension on Friday, stated that he acted based on an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on January 23, 2019.

A copy of the order read “the Defendant/Respondent (Justice Onnoghen) to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chairman of the National Judicial Council over allegations of contravening the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap C15 Laws of the Federation 2004 pending the determination of the Motion on Notice dated 10th day of January 2019.

“An interim order of the Honourable Tribunal directing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take all necessary measures to swear-in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council in order to prevent a vacuum in the Judicial Arm of government pending the determination of the Motion on notice,” the order read.

President Buhari, in his speech announcing the suspension said: “Although the allegations in the petition are grievous enough in themselves, the security agencies have since then traced other suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the CJN’s personal accounts, all undeclared or improperly declared as required by law.”

Recall that Justice Onnoghen was recently embroiled in allegations of fraudulent assets declaration and some undeclared amounts in his accounts.

According to a report by The Nation newspaper, detectives found “suspicious” transactions, including an $800,000 Standard Chartered Bank investment subscription.

Also found is $630,000 lodged in some of the accounts through what is described as “structured payments” in tranches of $10,000 each.

Most of the lodgments, effected between 2012 and 2016, were undeclared in Justice Onnoghen’s assets declaration form.

In the meantime, President Buhari has sworn-in the next most senior judge at the Supreme Court, Tanko Mohammed, as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The new Acting CJN was sworn-in a while ago at the State House in Abuja.

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Buhari Suspends Onnoghen, Swears In Mohammed As Acting CJN

President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeira (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial at the Code of Condcut Tribunal.

President Buhari announced the suspension at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja today.

He said the suspension followed the order of the CCT directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial.

The President has swore in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN. Mohammed who hails from Bauchi state is the most senior justice of the Supreme Court.

Daily Trust

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A Chief Justice That Has Always Lived Above His Means And Now, Nemesis, By Annie Orji

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen is facing the battle of his political carreer. He was one of the judges indicted for corruption and recommended for dismissal by the the Justice Kayode Eso Panel set up by the Sani Abacha military regime to probe incessant allegations of judicial corruption in 1994.

Justice Onnoghen was then a judge in the Cross River State high court where he was accused of selling justice to the highest bidder. Luckily for Justice Onnoghen he had been promoted to the Court of Appeal when the implementation of the recommendation of the Eso Panel was carried out against only judges of high courts across the country.

As the leopard never changes its colour Justice Onnoghen has continued with corrupt practices. The judge has not been able to account for the millions of Naira, Pounds Sterling, Dollars and Euros in his bank accounts. The money is so much for a serving judge that Justice Onnoghen did not declare some of his bank accounts as required by law.

Hence, the Chief Justice was charged with failure to false declaration and failure to declare his assets containing hundreds of over $3 million of dollars before the Code of Conduct Tribunal last week. It has also been alleged that for 18 months the Chief Justice did not withdraw from his salary account, suggesting that he was spending bribe money.

Although the petition was received by the Code of Conduct from an ex aide of President Buhari on January 9, 2019. A team of officials from the Code of Conduct Bureau visited the Chief Justice on January 10. When confronted with the fact that he did not declare his assets as stipulated as stipulated by the Constitution the Chief Justice said that he “forgot” to have done so. He therefore pleaded for the “understanding and cooperation” of the Code of Conduct Bureau officials. The official promised to coopetate but asked the Chief Justice to write a statement under caution. He did so in his own handwriting where he admitted that he “forgot” to declare his assets.

Based on the admission by the Chief Justice that he did not declare his assets the Bureau quickly prepared a charge and filed it before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on January 11. The Tribunal fixed the case for the arraignment of the Chief Justice for January 15. To avoid the disgrace of being arraigned at the Tribunal the Chief Justice was advised to stay away from the proceedings of the Tribunal which he did. In a counter move, the legal team of the Chief Justice informed the Tribunal that their client had not been served with the charge sheet. The case was adjourned to January 22 for hearing after which proper service would have been effected on the Chief Justice.

Meanwhile, a case filed on Monday, January 15 at the federal high court to stop the trial of the Chief Justice through two NGOs were assigned to a judge, Justice N. E. Maha, a newly appointed judge in the court. We have confirmed that Justice Maha is very close to the Chief Justice as a former staff in the office of the Legal Practioners Privileges Committee located in the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. The Committee is headed by the Chief Justice. Within minutes of receiving the file of the new suit it was heard by Justice Maha who quickly granted a motion ex parte in the case. The judge restrained the Code of Conduct Tribunal from proceeding to hear the charge against the Chief Justice until the hearing of the motion on notice.

Not sure that the order of Justice Maha was sufficient to shield him from prosecution before the Code of Conduct Tribunal the Chief Justice planned another strategy. He held a meeting with Justice Babatunde Adejumo, the President of the National Industrial Court whose wife, Justice Abimbola Adejumo had delivered the judgment in the case of Nganjiwa v Federal Republic of Nigeria which ruled that all corruption cases involving judges should be reported to the National Judicial Council which is headed by the Chief Justice. The judgment was delivered to prevent the arrest and prosecution of judges as was witnessed in 2016 when about 10 judges were arrested and charged to court for corruption.

At the end of the meeting which held in Abuja last Sunday the embattled Chief Justice asked Justice Adejumo to get an order to prevent his arrest by the police, efcc or icpc. A case was filed the following day at the National Industrial Court . It was hurriedly assigned to Justice Sanusi Kano by Justice Adejumo. The case was heard by Justice who granted an order restraining the Police from arresting the Chief Justice pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. The judge also stopped the trial of the Chief Justice by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Lawyers and judges are asking if the Chief Justice has become an employee to have his case decided at the National Industrial Court established to hear only trade union and lab

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EFCC Commends CJN Over Anti- Corruption Courts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has described as a welcome development, the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen to heads of divisions of courts to establish Special Anti Corruption Courts across the country.
The Commission describes the development as a right step in the right direction, with the potentials of curtailing the unnecessary delays in the prosecution of corruption cases.
While applauding the initiative, the acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu expressed the optimism that the innovation will strengthen the fight against economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.
“The spate of frivolous and unwarranted adjournments at the instances of the defence  for the purpose of stalling proceedings is over. With Special Courts, cases stand great chance of being disposed of quickly. We had clamoured for the creation of special or dedicated courts for over six years . So, the action of the CJN is commendable”, Magu said.
The CJN announced the creation of Special Court for corruption cases on Monday, September 18, 2017 at the special session of the Supreme Court where 29 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) were admitted to the inner bar.
In order for the National Judicial Council (NJC) to monitor and effectively enforce the foregoing Policy, the CJN disclosed that an Anti-Corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee will be constituted at the next Council meeting.
The CJN has also directed Heads of Courts to clamp down on both Prosecution and Defence Counsel who indulge in the unethical practice of deploying delay tactics to stall criminal trials.
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CJN Talks Tough, Orders Speaker Dogara To Swear-In Hembe’s Replacement

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has ordered Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to immediately swear-in Herman Hembe’s replacement, Mrs. Dorothy Mato.

The Supreme Court had on June 25 sacked Herman Hembe, member of the Federal House of Representatives representing, Vandikya/ Konshisha constituency, Benue State. The court further ordered that Mrs. Dorothy be sworn in immediately in their stead.

Justice Onnoghen, in his ruling affirming Hembe’s sack in Abuja, on Wednesday, warned Dogara of the consequences of disobedience to court orders, saying such disobedience will spell doom for the country’s democracy.

His words: “If somebody has been in the House where he is not supposed to be and has reaped the benefits which it should not be, you mean we should close our eyes to this product of impunity? No, we cannot go back to that because the imposter has no right to it. Whatever he collected should be refunded. This court is sending a message to everybody so that right from the primaries, the right thing should be done,” the CJN held.

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CJN Onnoghen Not Under Probe, Says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has denied a newspaper report saying the commission is presently probing the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, and some other politically exposed persons.

In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission described the report as untrue and inaccurate.

The report, published by the Punch on Wednesday, also included a Judge of the Federal High Court, Audu Kafarati; former first lady, Patience Jonathan; former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; serving Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi); and the Minister for Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi among others.

The part statement reads:

“The Commission wishes to state categorically that it is currently not investigating Justices Onnoghen and Kafarati.

“While Onnoghen was being considered for his present position, the Commission received some petitions which were investigated and found to be without merit and discarded.

“It is important to state that this report did not emanate from the EFCC and the allusion to “an EFCC source” is diversionary and mischievous.

“For the avoidance of doubt, cases under investigation communicated to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation by the Commission are classified information and it is troubling how such would be leaked to the media.

“Indeed, much damage has been done to the Commission’s investigation activities by this leak especially as some of the cases mentioned are still at preliminary stages of investigation.”

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Judiciary Under Threat, Says CJN Walter Onnoghen

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has said that the nation’s judiciary was under threat.

Onnoghen said this on Sunday at a thanksgiving service held at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Abuja Diocese, Zone 3, Abuja.

The CJN while lamenting at how judicial officers in the country were being accused of corrupt practices without any evidence, he appealed to Nigerians to pray for the survival of the Judiciary.

Onnoghen who was at the church to thank God for emerging as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, was joined by his family members, other Justices of the Supreme Court, politicians and lawyers.

His words: “I did not set out to be a Judge, but today I am a judge by divine intervention. It’s the Lord’s doing, mine is to follow. My prayer is that God should help me and should not let me down.”

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