Chief Judge of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has faulted the Federal Government over the criminal charges filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen over alleged failure to declare his assets.

The Federal government had filed criminal charges against Justice Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged failure to declare his assets, as well as operating a domiciliary account.

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But in a statement on Sunday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria called on the Government to withdraw the charges against Justice Onnoghen.

He said, “The charge against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, ought not to have been instituted at the Code of Conduct of Tribunal in view of the case of Nganjiwa v FRN (2017) LPELR 43391 wherein the Court of Appeal held that a judicial officer who has not been investigated by the National Judicial Council and sanctioned for misconduct cannot be arraigned in any criminal court in Nigeria.

“As all authorities are bound by the Court of Appeal verdict, the case should be withdrawn by the Attorney-General of the Federation without any delay because it is likely to be a prosecutorial misadventure.”

The CCT had said it would commence the trial of Justice Onnoghen on Monday, January 14, on six charges.

It explained that the charges were filed before it by the CCB, based on a petition signed by the Executive Secretary of the anti-corruption research data-based initiative, Dennis Aghanya.