There is palpable tension in Abuja over a breaking story by an online platform that the federal government is allegedly making moves to remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
A call to the number of the Government spokesman and Ministter of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was not picked, ans a response is being awaited to an sms.
Onnoghen’s spokesman, Don Bassey Awassam, did not also pick his call and a response to an sms sent to him is being awaited.
The full text of the story by PRNigeria, known to be affiliated to some agencies of government, reads:
FG Asks CJN Onnoghen to Vacate Office …. To be Arraigned on Criminal Charges Monday
The Federal Government has declared war against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen asking him to immediately vacate his exalted office as Head of the Nation’s judiciary over alleged sundry asset declaration issues.
In a move to force Justice Onnoghen out of office, the Federal Government will on Monday January 14, 2019 arraigned the CJN before the Justice Danladi Yakubu led- Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on charges of failures to declare his assets as required by law and for operating Bank Domiciliary Foreign Currency Accounts.
The charge sighted by PRNigeria against Justice Onnoghe has already being filed and served on him last Friday at his official residence in Abuja preparatory for his appearance at the tribunal.
The Federal Government among others is accusing Nigeria’s Head of the Judiciary of refusal to declare his assets in breach of the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
He is also being accused of maintaining Domiciliary foreign currencies account which comprised Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account which are alleged to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.
Justice Nnoghen whose appointment suffered unprecedented delay by President Muhammadu Buhari over undisclosed issues may be the first CJN in Nigeria to be arraigned for criminal charges by the Federal Government.
Apart from putting the Chief Justice in the dock on Monday, PRNigeria learned that motion on notice is to be filed against him praying the tribunal to order him to vacate office and recuse himself office so as to prevent alleged interference in his arraignment and trial
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (names withheld) has been engaged by Federal Government to lead the onslaught against justice Onnoghen, while PRNigeria could not ascertain names of those who will lead the defence team for CJN.
However, it is gathered that eminent lawyers have volunteered to put their services at the disposal of Justice Onnoghen in the bid to rescue him from the claws of the government.
It would be recalled the President of the Senate of Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki was in 2015 shortly he emerged the Head of the Legislature arraigned at the tribunal but the charges against him were quashed and he was discharged and acquitted by the tribunal on the ground that the charges against him by government were based on hearsay that could not stand in the face of the law.
Saraki’s discharge and acquittal was upheld by the Supreme Court under the leadership of Justice Onnoghen