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Breaking: CCT declares ‘ex-CJN’ Onnoghen guilty

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•Banned from public office

Jude Johnson

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Thursday convicted the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen of breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers over failure to declare his assets.

Onnoghen was reported to have resigned from his position as the CJN following the report by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to President Muhammadu Buhari recommending his retirement. The Presidency is yet to confirm nor deny his resignation.

But the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar in his judgement on Thursday, ordered the immediate removal of Onnoghen from office as the CJN.

Umar also removed the ‘ex-CJN’ as Chairman of the National Judicial Council and the Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission respectively.

He also ordered the forfeiture of the five accounts which defendant failed to declare as part of his assets.

The tribunal also ordered the forfeiture of the money in the five accounts which Onnoghen allegedly failed to declare to the Federal Government.

To this end, Onnoghen has been banned from holding public office for 10 years.

Controversial suspension, replacement and retirement

President Buhari had on January 23, 2019 suspended Onnoghen as the CJN sparking debate over the constitutionality or otherwise of his action.

Not deterred by the controversy of removing the head of another arm of government, Buhari on January 25, 2019 installed Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad from Bauchi State as Acting CJN.

But on April 5, 2019 Justice Onnoghen formally tendered his resignation as the head of Nigeria’s Judiciary.

Onnoghen reportedly sent his resignation letter to President Buhari barely 24 hours after the NJC concluded investigating him for various allegations of misconduct.

Currently, more controversy awaits the Nigerian Judiciary as the stipulated interim term limit for the Acting CJN Justice Tanko Muhammad will expire on April 25, 2019 without any the President meeting the constitutional requirement for a replacement.

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