Following the successful trial of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), one of the lawyers of the former CJN has revealed how the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari could remove governors, lawmakers through CCT.
Chukwuma Ma-Chukwu Ume, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was quoted as expressing concern over the circumstances surrounding the suspension and unceremonious retirement of Onnoghen from office.
According to The Sun, Mr Ume faulted the judgment of the CCT which he maintained had some political colouration as it was not based on any legal principle.
The senior lawyer said, ”The trial of the former CJN has nothing to do with fighting corruption as it was purely politically motivated.
“You can’t fight corruption when you have a corrupt intention. The trial was ill-intended aimed at achieving a political goal and not a national goal.
” Corruption should be fought for the purpose of eradicating corruption and for achieving a predetermined political agenda.
” The rule of law was thrown to the dustbin at the tribunal and the judgment is most unfortunate and collaboration to the fact of achieving a predetermined goal.
“From the formulation to trial, arraignment, wherein court orders were thrown to the dustbin and judgment which was based on no evidence known to law show that the whole act was set at a point of no-return. Like a plane, once it gets to its final acceleration, there is no going back.
” The political motive was set at a point of no return. It does not matter how the soul of the nation bleeds, however the constitution, democracy and judiciary is thrown to the mud as all that was at stake was the political interest.
”But what to an extent can a country grow when individual political interest supersedes national interest. That is why Nigeria which is the 6th largest producer of oil does not have a refinery,” The Sun quoted Ume as saying.
He said very soon, the constitutional provision for the recall of elected members of the National Assembly who are in the opposition political parties will be thrown into dustbin and the CCT will be used to recall them by their constituencies.
Recalled that the Code of Conduct Tribunal had on Thursday, April 2019, convicted former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen in a circumstance that has put a question mark on the integrity and the independence of the country’s judiciary.
Onnoghen, who had tendered his resignation letter following his suspension from office on account of false declaration of assets, was convicted on all the six-counts bordering on non-declaration of assets and maintaining five separate foreign bank accounts, in breach of the code of public office holders.
CCT led by Danladi Umar consequently ordered the forfeiture of the money in all the five bank accounts of Onnoghen to the federal government and the banned him of from holding public office for a period of 10 years.
Onnoghen’s travails started when the Federal government had in an unprecedented move on January 11, dragged him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, for trial, accusing him failing to declare his assets as prescribed by the law.
In the six-count charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, FG, equally accused Onnoghen of maintaining five separate foreign bank accounts, in breach of the code of conduct for public office holders.
The charge followed a petition dated January 7, which was lodged against the embattled CJN by a group under the aegis of Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative.
The opposition party described the travails of Onnoghen as politically-motivated. He was the first CJN to face corruption-related allegations and kicked out of the office on the same offence.
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