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Thursday, January 17, 2019

CJN Onnoghen: Buhari govt under fire






Renowned legal practitioner, Ebun-Ola Adegboruwa has insisted that the six-count charge against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) are illegal.

The CJN will be arraigned on Monday January 22, 2019.

In a statement on Thursday, Adegboruwa said the government was causing anxiety in the polity.

According to him, there’s need to exercise restraint in the way public institutions were being ridiculed, because of its future consequences.

The lawyer noted that the Buhari government can’t be fighting itself on all fronts, as a house divided against itself cannot stand.

He said: “There’s no distinction to be drawn from the case of Nganjiwa v FRN, as to either clothe the CCT with jurisdiction, or rob the NJC of disciplinary control, over the office of the CJN or any judicial officer.

“The CJN filled the CCB Forms in pursuance of his judicial responsibilities as a judge.

“As CJN, he must first be a judge before being a public officer and he did not become a public officer for the performance of any other duty other than being a judge and can thus not be stripped of the status of a judex by reason only of being a public officer. We cannot put the cart before the horse.

“The process of filling CCB Forms by a judge is an extension of the performance of his judicial functions.

“Paragraph 21 (b) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution has not drawn any distinction as to the nature of “disciplinary action” that the NJC can exercise over a judicial officer in his capacity as such. It is for the NJC to determine, when the matter is properly tabled before it as such.

“It is improper, unfair and derogatory for the “authorities” to splash mud on the office of the CJN by publicly sharing his confidential information, such as his signature, his telephone numbers, his handwritings, his family details, etc, even on the social media.

“It is totally wrong for the government to apply Executive Order 6 to the CJN to freeze his assets, when he’s not facing a corruption related charge and when he’s not listed in the specific Schedule to the said Executive Order 6.

“The unwitting impression now created is that the motive of this trial is purely to humiliate and denigrate the office of the CJN and to expose the judiciary and the legal profession to public opprobrium and ridicule, ahead of the 2019 general elections.”

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