Former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has faulted the arrest warrant against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Concise News had reported that the Justice Danladi Umar-led CCT had ordered the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services to arrest Onnoghen.
It was learned that the CCT took this action on the back of Onnoghen’s failure to appear before the Tribunal over allegations of refusing to declare his assets.
But Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, argued that the CCT did not follow due process.
“I am shocked that the Code of Conduct Tribunal will issue a Bench warrant for the arrest of Hon. Justice Walter Onnogen, knowing fully well that its jurisdiction to try the case has been challenged and the Application on challenge is on the CCT docket, and no hearing has occurred,” he said.
“The CCT is aware that there is now before the National Judicial Council, a petition against Justice Walter Onnogen on exactly the same charges at the CCT. The CCT ought to await the outcome of the pending matters in the NJC, Appeal Court and Federal High Court.
“The conduct of the CCT subverts the Rule of Law and due process.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had last month suspended Onnoghen based on allegation that he violated the code of conduct for public officers by not declaring his assets as required by law.
The federal government is prosecuting Onnoghen at the CCT, which recommended the suspension of the senior judicial officer.
Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has since been sworn in as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.