The Federal Government has applied to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, to order the arrest of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, following his absence from the Tuesday’s proceedings.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar SAN, made the application orally at the resumed hearing of the charges of non-asset declaration instituted against the CJN by the Federal Government.
“Under the circumstances, it is my sad duty to address the tribunal on S6(1) of the Practice Direction of the tribunal.
“I hereby humbly apply for a warrant of arrest against the defendant,” he said.
Like in the previous four court sessions for the false assets declaration trial, Onnoghen was absent from the CCT proceedings on Tuesday, the day the National Judicial Council, NJC, and the Court of Appeal in Abuja are coincidentally sitting on his matter.
Umar, who anchored his application for Onnoghen’s arrest on section 6(1) of the Practice Direction of the CCT, also opposed the call on the three-man tribunal by the lead defence counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, to hear all pending applications.
Umar maintained that by virtue of section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 no objections could be raised by the defendant until he took his plea.
The prosecuting counsel said Onnoghen having not taken his plea, the objection by him could not be heard.
Meanwhile, the application for the arrest warrant was opposed by Awomolo, who urged the tribunal to refuse the application to issue bench warrant for seven reasons.