As the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, resumes hearing on the six-count charge pending against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, his defence team has expressed fears over alleged plot to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.
A member of Justice Onnoghen’s legal team comprising over 48 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, who spoke to Vanguard last night, expressed apprehension over alleged plan to persuade the Danladi Umar-led CCT panel to order security agencies to arrest the suspended CJN.
The senior lawyer, who pleaded anonymity, maintained that the motion was already prepared and ready to be moved today, should Justice Onnoghen fail to appear before the CCT for his trial.
It will be recalled that that the suspended CJN, who is facing prosecution over allegation that he failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, as well as operated foreign bank accounts, had on two adjourned dates declined appearance summons the tribunal issued against him.
While he declined to appear for arraignment on January 14 on the premise that the summon was not personally served on him, the defendant, on January 21, equally failed to appear before the tribunal, which he argued was bereft of the requisite jurisdiction to try him.
He contended that Federal Government’s failure to channel the petition against him, as well as the outcome of the investigation that was purportedly conducted on his assets declaration forms by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, to the National Judicial Council, NJC, legally invalidated the charge it entered against him at the CCT.
Meantime, following his repeated absence for his scheduled trial, the Federal Government, on the last adjourned date, said it had the right to apply for a bench warrant to be issued against the suspended CJN.
Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
Onnoghen, who has gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge his trial, may not appear before the tribunal today, a situation that could warrant an application for his arrest.