Supreme Court Rules On Suit Challenging Onnoghen’s Removal
Justice Walter Onnoghen briefing newsmen in Abuja (file image courtesy NAN

The Supreme Court has struck out a suit seeking the review of the constitutionality of the removal of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, through an ex parte order issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Concise News reports that the five-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, strike out the suit on Monday.

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President Muhammadu Buhari had in January 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 then filed charges against Onnoghen at the CCT which convicted the senior judicial officer.

In his ruling, Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ordered the immediate removal of Onnoghen from office as the CJN.

Onnoghen, who denied the charges, voluntarily resigned from office before he was convicted by the CCT on 18 April.

The federal government had also sent a petition to the NJC over corruption allegations against the sacked CJN.

As for Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), it accused Onnoghen of receiving bribes in money and gifts from lawyers, and receiving illicit payments from public funds.

But one Dr Samuel Nwawka filed an appeal seeking the review of circumstances leading to Onnoghen’s removal.

The respondents to the appeal were the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau CCB, Muhammed Isah; the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar, and a member of the CCT, Julie Anabor.

But, Nwawka and his lawyers, it was learned, were absent, just as the respondents’ lawyers too were absent from court on Monday.

This prompted the apex court to strike out the suit.