CJN Walter Onnoghen

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has extended the restraining order against the continuation of the trial of the nation’s judicial officer, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to January 28.

The court presided over by Justice Edward Maha gave the order on Thursday after a counsel representing the respondents informed the court that his client had not been served.

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Justice Maha, therefore, ordered a fresh service of the court summons to the respondents and directed that the date of service be included in the proof of service before the next hearing.

Before adjourning the matter, he ruled that the order for parties to maintain the status quo remained in force.

The order included among other things that the trial of Justice Onnoghen, scheduled to continue on January at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), may have to be suspended, pending further directives from the court.

Meanwhile, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) said it has formally served court summons on the CJN as directed by the tribunal.

The CJN is standing trial at the tribunal over allegations of non-declaration of assets levelled against him by the CCB.

The original application in the instant case was filed by the incorporated trustees of two groups – the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, as well as the International Association of Students Economists and Management.

Justice Onnoghen was meant to be arraigned on Monday at the tribunal but he was absent due to non-service of the summons on him.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lead counsel to the CJN, Wole Olanipekun, had challenged the jurisdiction of the court and the failure of the CCB to serve the summons directly on Justice Onnoghen as required by law.

This among others prompted the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, to adjourn the matter till January 22 for the prosecution to properly serve the CJN.

Elsewhere, the Federal High Court in Abuja and the National Industrial Court gave separate orders to halt the proceedings.

They also restrained the police from arresting Justice Onnoghen pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed by the two non-governmental organisations.