Court stops Justice Onnoghen’s arraignment at CCT

The Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The Federal Government is planning to arraign the CJN for alleged failure to declare his assets, as well as operating a domiciliary account.
Justice Onnoghen who was due for arraignment before the CCT on Monday was, however, absent from court.
While ruling on two separate ex parte applications seeking to stop the trial of the CJN, Justice Edward Maha of the Federal High Court ordered parties to maintain status quo till January 17.
He held in the two different suits that the defendants should be served with all the papers filed and they should appear in court at the next hearing.
One of the two suits was filed by Incorporated ‎Trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.
The other was also filed by the incorporated ‎trustees of the International Association of Students Economists and Management.
Those joined as defendants in the suit, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, as well as the Chairman of CCT and the National Judicial Council.
‎The applications were being filed before the court while the proceedings were ongoing at the tribunal where Justice Onnoghen was expected to be arraigned.
Meanwhile, the absence of the CJN at the CCT proceedings forced the tribunal to adjourn till January 22.
The change of date for Onnoghen’s arraignment followed argument by the defence counsel that the CJN was not properly served.
Lead prosecuting counsel, Mr Aliyu Umar (SAN), conceded that Justice Onnoghen, was not properly served with the summons to appear before the CCT in Abuja on Monday.
Umar conceded that the CJN was not personally served with the charges and the court’s summons as required by the law.
He, therefore, requested the three-man tribunal led by Danladi Umar to direct a fresh service on the CJN.
The Federal Government through the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had filed six counts of non-declaration of assets against the CJN on Friday last week.

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