The Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, may have reportedly resigned or retired from his post but the offence committed that put him in this travails is still on trial in a court of law.
Justice Onnoghen, who is still on trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for false and non-declaration of assets rested his defence case at the trial, barely two weeks ago, before the judge adjourned till today for final addresses to be filed by both counsels in the trial.
At the resumption of trial today, the CCT fixed Thursday for its final judgment in the Onnoghen’s case.
The Danladi Umar-led three-man bench fixed the date for judgment after the prosecution led by Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), and the defence led by Mr. Okon Efut (SAN), adopted their final addresses.
During the proceedings, the defence, in their final arguments, maintained that the prosecution failed to prove the six counts beyond reasonable doubt as required by law and urged the tribunal to dismiss the case.
Efut maintained that the statement made by Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau was not confessional as alleged by the prosecution.
He added that the charges, were incompetent and unconstitutional as they were based on the provisions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and Bureau Act which were in conflict with the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
But the prosecution said the defence team was only attempting to redefine what constituted “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.
He urged the tribunal to hold that the prosecution indeed proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and “return a guilty verdict”.
Adjourning till Thursday for judgment, the tribunal chairman, said the verdict would be delivered along with two pending rulings on Onnoghen’s applications, one challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case and another one asking the CCT chairman to disqualify himself from further presiding over the case for being allegedly bias.
Remember that, Onnoghen shook the political scene two weeks ago when news broke that he had reportedly resigned form his post as the chief arbiter in the country.
However, his lead counsel at the CCT trial, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) clarified that Onnoghen retired voluntarily but did not resign and that the suspended CJN made the decision in the interest of the judiciary.
Onnoghen’s resignation has not been acknowledged by the Presidency as President Buhari was out of the country, heading to Jordan when the suspended CJN reportedly submitted his resignation at the villa.
Also, the National Judicial Council (NJC) which had already recommended Onnoghen for voluntary retirement has also refused to comment on the resignation letter or its former principal.
Feel free to leave your comment on the story